Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Idea Studio Summer Artist in Residence Samantha Nelson expresses her love of fantasy, magic and the living world in her one-person show, Unfamiliar Familiars at the Fond du Lac Public Library’s Langdon Divers Gallery October 2 to November 5.

A public reception will be held 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, October 10, in the gallery. Refreshments will be served. The exhibit and reception are free; no registration required.

Nelson was selected among a field of applicants for the paid 2019 artist residence position, which ran June, July and August, during which she worked on original art in the Idea Studio and conducted public workshops.

Of her show, Nelson said, “Each piece represents a bit of the soul of nature, and a gentle touch of mystical energy. I love animals, and while I love the personifications people give them, my favorite bits of different species is their interaction with the world and the imprint they leave on it. Their behavior, charm, and individual personalities spark the imaginations of people around the world. We create stories about them and narrate powerful epics where humans become inferior to magical beasts.

“I express my whimsical use of color and calculated textures in all these digital paintings. I hope you all are able to feel the pull of the intuition of these familiars and return to your childhood where magic was expected to be intertwined with nature.”

Nelson specializes in traditional and digital illustration. She holds a bachelor’s degree in illustration from UW-Eau Claire and holds certification in web development. She has been instrumental in the launching the Idea Studio’s Girls Who Code Club and is a software engineer for Mayville Engineering Co. She spends her free time drawing and experimenting with illustration. Current projects include a tarot deck and a web comic. Nelson views art as a mechanism to tell stories. Working primarily in pen and ink or Procreate on her iPad, Nelson said her art is dependent on varied line work and texture. She wants to create an interactive narrative for all audiences to appreciate and enjoy. Inspiration comes from her pet rats, beekeeping, reptile breeding projects, tarantulas and her microfauna vivariums.  

The library’s gallery is a showcase for local and regional artists. The space is curated by volunteer artist Mel Kolstad, who can be contacted at