Camilla Nelson is a sophomore art major at PLNU, and her parents, Kenton and Tessa, couldn’t be happier with their daughter’s experience.
Art and craftsmanship are strong in the Nelson family. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, Tessa was a silversmith. Kenton is a professional painter. He began his career as a graphic designer but taught himself to paint at the age of 40.
“With the advent of the computer, although I like technology, I thought it would make handmade things more precious,” he said of his career change.
Three decades later, his paintings have appeared in films, been featured on the cover of The New Yorker seven times, and been exhibited around the world, including in Zurich, Berlin, and Salsburg, Austria.
Since he was self-taught, Kenton started out painting what he was interested in: the architecture of Southern California where he grew up. After a few years, he began to paint the human figure. Today, he is known for capturing a spirit of Americana in his work.
“My paintings depict the America of my youth and the advertising and movies of my youth,” he said.
For Nelson, the most rewarding part of his work is the process of invention. “I get to sit down and think about what this next show is going to be,” he explained. “I like it to have a thread or hold together somehow.”
In addition, Nelson appreciates the way art can be used to inspire and encourage people. “As creatives, we have to work to uplift the world,” he said.
In order to grow at his craft, Kenton is used to working hard. He puts in a full effort each day and prepares for a show for around nine months. When he used to meet with kids from a local art center, he tried to share with them the importance of hard work.
“I used to [tell them] to find your passion and then work like crazy,” he said. “But then I realized you have to learn how to work first. Work ethic is a huge part of what their success will be.”
Kenton said he really learned to work hard as a graphic artist. He’s glad Camilla got her first taste of hard work and serving others in a restaurant job.
“The arts are all about persistence and your drive,” he said. “I think Camilla has much more natural talent than I had, and I hope that she has the drive to compete in an extremely competitive world.”
Kenton and Tessa have also aimed to pass on their faith. “You spend your life on your knees,” he said. “It’s all by God’s grace.” The Nelsons’ desire for their daughter to both develop in her art and in her faith has been met at PLNU.
“We’re thrilled she’s there. She has been so unbelievably happy at Point Loma … It’s been an all-around great experience. Talk about going to school in paradise!”
“I went down with her, and I spoke to a number of the artists, the teachers,” he said. “I was very pleased with what I saw. The fundamentals are really important. You have to have an understanding of the art before you can abstract it. We’re thrilled she’s there. She has been so unbelievably happy at Point Loma. I really recognize the importance of the culture at Point Loma. It’s not lost on me. I feel she is safe there. I feel she has made very good friends. It’s been an all-around great experience. Talk about going to school in paradise!”
To learn more how you can help students become who they are fully called to be, click here.