St Albans dad gives up corporate career to pursue ambition of becoming artist

Dave Nelson winning the Hertford Open prize in 2014

Dave Nelson winning the Hertford Open prize in 2014

Dave Nelson

A father of two who gave up his corporate career to pursue his artistic talents will have his work displayed at a coveted art exhibition from today (Thursday).

'Learning to Surf' by artist Dave Nelson'Learning to Surf' by artist Dave Nelson

Dave Nelson, 51, of Lancaster Road, St Albans, was working in the marketing department at Tesco head office when he accepted voluntary redundancy to pursue his passion for art last year.

The budding artist, who was ‘chucked out’ of his art class at school, picked up art again 10 years ago to help encourage his children.

He said: “I started painting as a little bit of a ‘screw you’ to my art teacher. It was a way of telling myself I can do this as I always had an interest.

“Then I did it a little bit to encourage my children and I got back into it. For them to see me drawing really encouraged them.

'My First Prom' by St Albans artist Dave Nelson'My First Prom' by St Albans artist Dave Nelson

“My parents weren’t very arty so I didn’t get the encouragement so I thought it would be good to encourage them.”

He added: “My daughter and I still sketch together.”

In 2014 he won a prize at the Hertford Open Exhibition, beating 500 entries to the accolade. It was then he reduced his working hours to four days a week and began selling his work at weekends.

The following year he gave up his corporate job entirely and began creating art full time.

St Albans artist Dave Nelson in his Digswell studioSt Albans artist Dave Nelson in his Digswell studio

Just a year later two of his paintings will appear in the 2016 ING Discerning Eye exhibition in London, which starts today (Thursday).

The exhibition is a show of small works independently selected by six prominent figures from different areas of the art world: two artists, two collectors and two critics.

Dave said: “Getting into the Discerning Eye has after just a year is a real achievement. Many artists struggle to get one piece in, but the fact two pieces have made is really exciting for an up-and-coming artist.”

He said that he was glad he chose to make the jump from the corporate world, adding: “I have been loving it. I don’t regret it for a minute. I’m not making nearly as much money but I’m absolutely loving it.

The exhibition will run until November 27. More information can be found here.

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