Nellsmith received his BFA from the University of Georgia and his MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is currently the Art Department Chairman and a professor at Newberry College. He has been selected for a number of exhibitions around the Southeast. His work is included in many private, state, and public collections.
“I do not object to interpretations of my work that emphasize landscape or figurative elements, although such references are not my primary objectives. I recognize, however, that their environments influence artists. I spend a lot of time on the coast, especially Edisto Island. These works reflect the strong light, brilliant color and twisted shapes of the live oaks and creeks.
The work, as I see it, is driven by my constant need to refresh, adjust, destroy, and then resurrect an essentially abstract vocabulary of line, color, and shape. I have become, as of recent, almost obsessed over the characteristics of every mark, every edge; yet, I cannot accept a movement in the composition that does not contain a certain raw or edgy quality about it. It is this that gives the work a furtive or shifty quality that keeps me engaged. This working and re-working process gives the paintings their life, their own independent histories. Having described my process as such, still, I am pleased that my work is large enough to contain some of the severe beauty of nature and its force, (as Jeffrey Day once described it) for we are, after all, ingredients in this.”