Directing an Experience

I’m interested in architectural forms because of the weight they carry in our lives. on the most basic level they provide us with a safe place to rest and think but they also determine the way we interact with each other and create a frame for the outside world. Arranging the pieces of a structure is infinite and those arrangements make us who we are. 

While working through projects I have come to consider the different pieces of a structure, how these parts are arranged and what they represent.  A window is a way of directing a persons gaze towards a view or an idea I want to share. I use Furniture to influence interaction with a space an art work or another person. The roof and walls encourage privacy, intimacy and inwardness. lighting draws the gaze.

In a museum a bench is placed in front of a painting. It is a visual cue telling the person to stop and sit this distance from the artwork. The bench may be just as important as the painting in evoking an experience. This gesture was the starting point for my current work. Typically a painter makes a painting for a structure but why not make a structure for a painting. 

The objective in my work is using structures to direct an experience . Sometimes I’m directing an experience for my self like with my mobile structures and dwellings and other times Im directing an experience for an audience.

My work is project based, for an exhibit I come up with a vision for the the whole show and then build the elements as one piece, which means as a painter the paintings and then the structure that holds the paintings. If I'm building a mobile structure or dwelling its designed around an experience I plan to have,  a trip I will take or time I will spend in a structure.

MFA, Bard College, 2008
BFA, California College of the Arts, 2004



Pairing 2, Chandran Gallery, San Francisco, ca


In Concert, Johansson Projects, San Francisco, CA


West Portal, Mollusk Surf Shop gallery, San francisco CA
With Edits, Triple Base Gallery, San Francisco, CA
The Autonomous Zone, Triple Base Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Double Blind, Triple Base Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Switchback, Triple Base Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Point of Origin, Lauryn Taylor Gallery, Carmel, CA
In the Wake of a Comet, Kayo Gallery, Salt Lake City, UT
Dreamhome, Needles and Pens, San Francisco, CA
When everything is clear This Ram will Be Me, Mama Buzz Caf, Oakland, CA
On Paper, Liminal Gallery, Oakland, CA
Recent Work by J Nelson, CCA North Gallery, Oakland, CA


Makeshift architecture, Bolinas Museum, Bolinas California


Architecture of Life, Berkeley Art Museum

Mollusk 10 year Anniversary Show, Mollusk Gallery, San Francisco, CA


The Possible, Berkeley Art Museum


Inanimate Object, The Sacred Door Gallery, Venice, CA

The last wave, La Friche, Marseille, France


At the Edge, BerkeleyArt Museum

Group show, Paule Anglim Gallery, San Francisco, CA 


Voyagers, RVCA, San Francisco, CA
Sunset Circles, P.O.P Gallery, Los Angeles
WOTO, 516 Arts, Albuquerque, NM
Zero01 San Jose Biennial, San Jose, CA
Southern Exposure, San Francisco, ca

Hot and Cold Zine Final Release, Baer Ridgeway, San Francisco, CA
Mollusk, Space 15twenty, Los Angeles, CA
Drawn Together, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark
White Noise, Space 1026, Philadelphia, PA
New Work from Recent California College of the Arts Arts Graduates, Curated by Larry Rinder, Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, OR
Biome, Link Art, San Francisco, CA
Happening, Milk Gallery, New York City, NY
On The Road Again, Beat Culture Bush Era, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA
West Coast Windows, Samson Projects, Boston, MA
Mostly SF, New Image Art, Los Angeles, CA
Habitrail, Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA
Bay Area Bazaar, Pulliam Defenbaugh Gallery, Portland, OR
Paper Awesome, Pigman Gallery. San Francisco, CA
Comfort, Mission17 Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Art Show, Playspace Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Labyrinth, Lobot Gallery, Oakland, CA
Very Crucial Creations, Dalva, San Francisco, CA
Mimi Bar Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Anti Depressants, SF Gallery, CCA, San Francisco, CA
The Bend, Magnolia Gallery, Oakland, CA
Networks, CCA South Gallery, Oakland, CA
SFARTS, Tapioca Gallery, San Francisco, CA

Berkeley Art Museum



La Friche 2013

Facebook 2012

JB Blunk2010

Curator of Mollusk Gallery, San Francisco, CA

7x7 Magazine, Best of Home + Design, May 2011

CCA News, Jay Nelson Carves Inner Space in Outer Sunset, Simon Hodgson, May 3 2011

Readymade Magazine, Cover, February/March 2011

Artcards, Jay Nelson at Triple Base, Joel Dean, February 5, 2011

San Francisco Chronicle, The Full Nelson at Triple Base, Kenneth Baker, January 2011

KQED Arts, Jay Nelson: With Edits, Sandra Silvoy, January 16, 2011

The Surfers Journal, "No Facile Statement", Jaimal Yogis, fall 2010

Glance, JB Blunk Residency, Lindsey Westbrook, November 2010

Revolver, Artist Profile: Jay Nelson, August 17, 2010

Blue Magazine, Jay Nelson, 2009

San Francisco Chronicle, Kenneth Baker, September 2009

The New York Times Style Magazine, Bump on a Log, Carly Berwick, December 2008

The San Francisco Bay Guardian, Local Artist Feature, October 22-28, 2008

Flavorpill, Art: Pick of the Week, Isaac Amala, October 2008

The L Magazine, NADA Emerging Artist Page, August 6-19, 2008

The San Francisco Bay Guardian, Double Blind, Ava Jancar, September 2007

San Francisco Magazine, Paradise Lost and Found, Jaimal Yogis, April 2006