Kadir Nelson (b. 1974) is an American artist who currently exhibits his artwork in galleries and museums nationwide and abroad. His paintings are in the private and public permanent collections of several notable institutions including the Muskegon Museum of Art, The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, the International Olympic Committee, and the US House of Representatives.
Nelson has created artwork for a host of distinguished clients including Sports Illustrated, The Coca-Cola Company, The United States Postal Service, Major League Baseball, and Dreamworks SKG as the lead conceptual artist creating for Steven Spielberg's Oscar® nominated feature film, "Amistad”. In December of 2014, Nelson’s striking painting of the late Nelson Mandela was featured on the cover of the New Yorker magazine. Within months, Nelson was asked by the magazine to create an updated painting of the magazine’s dandy, Eustace Tilley which was featured on the magazine’s 90th anniversary cover in February 2015. He also created artwork for Michael Jackson’s posthumously released album, “Michael,” and recording artist Drake’s, “Nothing Was The Same.”
Nelson has also authored and illustrated several award-winning NYT Best-Selling picture books including, “WE ARE THE SHIP: The Story of Negro League Baseball” and “Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans.” Nelson states, “I feel that art’s highest function is that of a mirror, reflecting the innermost beauty and divinity of the human spirit; and is most effective when it calls the viewer to remember one’s highest self. I choose subject matter that has emotional and spiritual resonance and focuses on the journey of the hero as it relates to the personal and collective stories of people.“