Bobo and Friends is Nelson’s most recent group project in collaboration with his painting students in Phoenix College. In the show, three collaborative pieces are themed around the works of the visiting artists that each year accompany Eric Fischl, an American artist and Phoenix College alumnus. In partnership with Phoenix Art Museum’s contemporary forum, Fischl honors his connection to Phoenix College by returning each year to give a lecture. Everything Will be Okay, the only outside piece, follows the technique of Mark Bradford, the artist that attended Fischl’s yearly lecture in April 2015.
The other two collaborative pieces are located inside of the gallery. Water studies and Happy/Sad Studies, are both themed around works and characters of two renowned artists: Bryan Hunt and Steve Martin. Happy/Sad Studies, which consists of two sections of figurative paintings with some wording on them, is inspired by Martin, an American comedian, actor, writer and musician. The title of this piece is reminiscent of a prevalent belief that there is a dark side to comedy.