Fine Arts - Painting Still Life

School of Fine Arts Faculty

Dr. Craig Nelson
Executive Director of Painting & Printmaking
School of Fine Art

For more than 30 years, Craig Nelson has depicted figures, landscapes, California coastal vistas, and various environments in rich, vibrant oils. He has painted countless movie posters, including the one-sheets for Slap ShotThe Monster Squad, and The Incredible Journey; many book covers; and album covers for the likes of Natalie Cole (Thankful) and Rick Nelson (Country). Some of his most prestigious works have been his Broadway production posters for Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers and Proposals; both originals are in the playwright’s private collection.

During his illustrious career, Nelson has won more than 200 awards of excellence in various shows, as well as five gold medals and four silver medals from organizations including the Society of Illustrators and the California Art Club. In 1996, one of his paintings was chosen for the Communication Arts Annual cover.

Industry Credits:

The achievements I am most proud of are as follows: Teaching at the university level for over 50 years, building online classes and produced more than 300 video demonstrations  for various classes.  Developed the Study Abroad Program for the Fine Art department in 2006 that has now expanded to other departments.  I have received more than 200 awards of excellence, Grand Teton National Arts For Parks Show award.  Best of show at SILA, several Gold and Silver Medals from West Coast and East Coast Illustration shows.  Best Figurative Painting California Art Club.  The Drawing Bible and 60 Minutes to Better Painting published by North Light Books.  Nine video demonstrations DVD’s for North Light.  Commission portraits for UCLA Dental School, UCLA Law School, UCSF Dental School.  Paintings in the collection of Sammy Davis Jr, James Garner, Neil Simon, and Toyota Corporation.  Various film posters for Columbia, MGM, Fox, Disney, and Warner Brothers.  Album covers included Natalie Cole, Rick Nelson, Neil Diamond, Motorhead, Sammy Davis Jr, among others.  Articles have been published in Southwest Art Magazine.  Several Arts For Parks publications and That Face You Got.  Over 40 one-man exhibitions in various galleries throughout the country.


Southwest Art Magazine

Craig Nelson Headshot
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The biggest obstacle I encountered was marketing and promoting my work shortly after graduating from art school.
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