What’s Going On with Ment Nelson
IT STARTED FROM THE ROOTS
Carrying your past along with your future is not actually bad. 26 years old artist, Ment Nelson from Hampton, South Carolina can tell you about using things from your past and making it great for your future. Recently in his first collection, Fishing With Grandma, Ment featured scenes from his childhood that he believes will shed light on his culture and give hope to those of the Gullah culture. The Gullah culture was created when the Africans were kidnapped from Africa and had to adjust to the American way of living, while staying true to their own culture. “My collection of art came from a “Soulful-place”, said Ment. He states that it came from a creative place. Two quotes he enjoys, and helps him to embrace his creative side are from Erykah Badu and Dr. T.D. Jakes.
Creativity is the absence of fear. -Erykah Badu
God created everybody and created everybody to be creative. –Dr. T.D. Jakes
“We all are creative and created to use our creativity”, said Ment. Not only does he believe in creativity, but all origins of creativity as well. Ment’s name, Clementia Nelson, comes from his god-mother’s son, the late pastor and state Senator Clementa Pinckney, who was one of the Emanuel Nine in Charleston, South Carolina. When Ment begins his art, or train of thought for what he is going to create, he waits until it appears as an idea in his head first. He believes his best work comes when he just does it, and not when it is planned. “If I plan to sit down and draw, it feels like someone is holding a gun at my head to do this. But when I get an idea, feeling or thought of something then I go ahead and put it into action”, stated Ment.
As a child Ment remembers fishing and crabbing with his grandmother; and he remembers watching his grandmother and other elderly family members do what seemed strange to him, but was a way of living to them. “I remember the feeling as a child. There wasn’t much to do in that rural area filled with trees, just quiet dirt roads surrounded by nature. It was the crabbing and the fishing that kept it alive”, said Ment.
Growing up he watched his mom doodle on paper stick like figures. He also learned that his uncle was a talented artist. Ment trusted that he got his talent from an inherited trait perfected through the years. Before embracing his talent for drawing he hid it. When Ment realized that he couldn’t hide it any longer he then got his first sight of being called an artist from those around him. Throughout his childhood and high school years Ment drew. He drew for classmates, family members, community members, and for leisure. When he went to college it all changed. It became a battle; he began to lose sight of drawing. Ment never saw himself becoming an artist. “I saw myself being a NBA basketball player”, said Nelson. During his freshman year of college he states that he stopped drawing and started experimenting with music. Playing music well in college led Ment to put drawing on the back burner but later he began concentrating on both. “My attention went to music, but then I had to remember that I can actually do both”, said Ment. Once he found how to combine the two, he got better.
Learning how to distinguish and combine the two led to his first collection, Fishing with Grandma. His collection originated from images of his childhood. Most of what was drawn by Ment telling a story of what he saw as a child. It also portrayed what took place in the Gullah community. “I wanted to draw something that people could relate too in my area. I wanted to give the elderly hope while also showing the youth what we missed and where we came from”, said Ment. It also paints a picture of what Ment calls home and love. Ment isn’t working on anything currently. “I’m currently waiting for the next idea”. He is just waiting for the next big idea to pop up on his brain so he can begin working. When asked if he was working on anything about the Charleston Nine incident he replied that he tried but every time he sketched the picture it wasn’t right. “I tried three nights ago. Maybe it will come. I’m going to keep thinking on it because I really want to do something”.
For further information about Ment and his collection, or to find out #WhatsGoingOn with him follow his Instagram and Twitter @mentnelson. He can also be contacted online at mentnelson.bigcartel.com.
Check out the video below to view Ment’s feature on ETV original series, Original SC.
By: Johnerio Scott