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Lia Nelson | Little Brown Skin Girls | Paper Art

Lia Nelson is a uniquely talented artist. For the past six years, she’s been creating beautifully delicate, Black-centric Paper Art

Lia Nelson is a uniquely talented artist. For the past six years, she’s been creating beautifully delicate, Black-centric Paper Art, using a distinctive mix of the Decoupage and Kirigami technique. The result is a strikingly accurate, and wonderfully imaginative depiction of Black culture in motion.

Lia attributes her flair for art and design to her beloved father, who has since passed away. She speaks of him so lovingly that a listener could readily feel the warmth of his memory, and as though they knew him too:

My father was a blue-collar, manly man. He liked working with his hands and would make art for our home out of practical, everyday things. My sister was artistically gifted from the beginning; I wasn’t. When my father passed, my artistic talents suddenly blossomed. My father was the bedrock of our family; his death left a huge hole. Exploring my gifts allowed me to capture fond memories of my family and grieve his loss.”

Although whimsical, Lia’s art also has a cathartic bent, which awakens fond memories and facilitates healing in the hearts of admirers of her work. Having been thrice commissioned by Judge Kristopher Colley – City of Aurora, Tracey Lovett—Vice President of Daniels Foundation, and Ryan Ross— Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs for Colorado College Systems, demonstrates her aesthetic breadth.

Evermore impressive is Lia’s creations are one-of-a-kind, custom art pieces. People have tried to replicate her originals, but the distinctiveness of the prototypes was lost in the process. The inability to reproduce her artwork has increased its reverence and value. Though esteemed for its facets of exclusivity and originality, interested buyers shouldn’t expect to pay extravagant pricing as Lia’s pieces range from $30 – $50.

Today, a gallery of her work can be found at Bella Luna Gifts & Gallery, an astonishing gathering house for the designs of local artists and handcrafted jewelry from international locations. As well, Ms. Nelson hosts an annual exhibition at the Blair Caldwell African American Library, also located in Denver. The next showing is scheduled for April 2020. Members of the community happily anticipate her yearly show and in particular, ambitious youths. To aspiring artists, Lia humbly advises confidence in their individualism:

“In my youth up through when I first began college, I would discard what I created because I didn’t think it looked as good as whoever’s. I got over my insecurity when I realized what I was creating was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Eventually, I would go on to find my own thing through Little Brown Skin Girls in my early fifties. It’s important to know these things take time. So, do you, do your thing; however you do it.”

On the topic of vision, Robert Collier once related: “vision reaches beyond the thing that is, into the conception of what can be. Imagination gives you the picture. Vision gives you the impulse to make the picture your own.” Lia’s creations are reigning illustrations of what we may pull in from the abyss of imagination if we dare only to reach.

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Brandon Bornes

Brandon Bornes

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