Artist Charles Nissen

About the Artist

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From an early age, Charles Nissen demonstrated artistic talents, and began exploring the world of abstract thought. By his early teenage years, he was painting as a hobby, and studying astronomy. His parents' gift of a 6" reflecting telescope in 1980 magnified this interest, and young Charles dreamed of becoming an astrophysicist. While contemplating the vastness of space, he continued to hone his drawing and painting skills. Meanwhile, his growing fascination with surrealist art reflected Charles' desire to explore the frontiers of the mind.

A Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in 1983 changed the trajectory of his life, and as Charles recovered, he relied on his skills to support himself by working as a draftsman. It was a good fit for Charles, allowing his creativity to co-exist with the need to support himself. All the while, Charles continued to pursue his artistic vision. He began showing his work in I99I, and had his first Solo Exhibition in Phoenix,  Arizona in I992.

In 1998 Charles founded Nissen Graphics, his own drafting and graphic design company. As his business grew, his abilities continued to evolve. In 2002, he was the subject of a feature-length independent movie, Corvair Summer, which he also co-wrote. By 2003, Charles had resolved to focus solely on his artwork, and continues to do so. Nissen's work has been seen in many Galleries throughout the American Southwest, as well as other markets in the U.S. and England.

Charles Nissen the artist is a dynamic character, still evolving along with his work. After a lengthy residency in New Mexico, he has returned to Phoenix to set up shop anew, in old, once-familiar territory. Nissen's art has been described as disturbing,  and uncomfortable, but  always thought provoking.  Chess pieces,  mostly pawns,  are a recurring theme in his work.  He tells us,  there are 32 opening moves that can be made with a pawn,  and half the pieces on the board are pawns.

"Enlighten the pawns and everything will change."
- Charles Nissen, 2014