The Mythical Mind Of Zac Nelson

When thinking of the most unique and abstract forms of media, the most common subject pointed to lands upon art. A form of creativity that can take many shapes and forms, and a topic not yet bested by anything in individuality. And taking a trip to SIU’s foundry, there lies the ability to bear witness to many types of incredible arts before your very own eyes. And this is exactly where Zac Nelson, SIU Fine Arts Student, created one of the most astonishing pieces of performative art.

Zac Nelson is an individual who went back to school later in his life, choosing SIU has the grounds for his mind to lay waste to. His vastly unique perspectives and the creativity of a man of his caliber is nothing short of incredible. And for his final sculpture project at SIU, he put together an immensely grand performance of a life time. Combining music, rollerblades, a cacophony of noises and ambiance, and multitudes upon multitudes of art pieces and paintings, Zac conjured up one of the most euphoric art experiences built, all within the confines of a small room.

Videographer JR Jarvis and myself went to visit Zac within the foundry, to get a first hand glimpse inside his mind. And upon witnessing his performance, we were absolutely stunned, to say the least. Speaking with Zac about the performance, he credited the works to his childhood, saying,

“I was thinking about this being an ode to my childhood. Growing up in a small town, I had art and music and rollerblading, and I feel like it kind of saved my life, in a way. There’s some ADHD-type of spectrum stuff going on, so to me this is kind of like what’s going on in my head, and it’s pretty overwhelming all the time, so it’s almost a maximalist work. Not in a mean way, but I want it to be overloading, because when I go to a casino I get calm, so it’s like when I have so much stimuli, it actually calms me down… ”

After the performance, JR and I needed some time of reflection, given the intensity of work, and took our own perspectives upon his craft. JR giving his input, speaking about the art, 

“I would say performance art is the best, because it’s describing your reality and your mental reality, and that’s what goes on in his head, so I see it as a representation of his own mind.”

Zac was nothing short of a figure of intrigue, and provided us a first-hand look into his life, his mind, and the experiences he had growing up. One of the most creative men I have met, and one of the most impressive works I have seen firsthand. A performance unlike any other, a craft special unto itself, and a world I have never experienced prior. 

I, for one, think there was plenty of variety.