Seriously—Why the Hell Can’t You Be More Like the Nelsons?: A Vulgar Response to Fine Art

By Theric Jepson

THERIC JEPSON is a gentleman who does not talk like this in everyday life. He is the author of the novel Byuck. But he knows its appearance in this bio doesn’t mean any of you will ever read the damn thing. Cheapskates.

This article makes mention of Tom Kimball who is in violation of our code of conduct. For more info on Tom Kimball and his history, click here for the January 14, 2023 statement.



You know what drives me nuts about the Sunstone crowd? You’re all happy talking about women and the priesthood or LGBT stuff or caffeine (caffeine!), but if I mention a really great Mormon novel that just came out, you smile at me like I’ve said something cute and turn to Tom Kimball to gab about blood atonement!

Not that the Mormon arts crowd is much better. Buncha tight-walleted bastards. Seriously. Would it kill them to buy a book of poetry for once in their lives?

Which is why I’m so darn impressed with Glen and Marcia Nelson. These two don’t just talk about Mormon art. They blow cash on the stuff.

For proof, check out their new book, The Glen & Marcia Nelson Collection of Mormon Art, which they’re giving away for free (free!) online just to make the rest of us look bad.

They’ve covered their bases, from not-Mormon stuff (like Ansel Adams’s sweet photo of the Manti Temple) to famous dead Mormons to up-and-coming kid artists. And this is all stuff they’ve bought and paid for! They’re sooo highbrow. I mean, Glen once wrote a book about going to the opera, for Pete’s sake.

Not that Mormons don’t have a killer tradition of highbrow fancy-pantsism. Take J. T. Harwood. He went to Paris and studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (pronounced “ah em betta zan yoo”) then went on to be a hotshot in Utah and Berkeley and New York. When BYU bought a ton of his stuff, he took the money and went right back to Paris. And guess who has a signed Harwood etching on their Manhattan wall? That’s right. The Nelsons.

How about Steve Klamm? Heard of him? Me neither! Dude’s just seven years older than I am but a way bigger deal. So thank you again, Nelson Collection of Mormon Art, for making me look stupid. The Nelsons bought a couple things off Klamm like this letterman jacket on a cross. Frank Moore, professional highbrow crazy person, says it reminds him of Matthew Shepherd. That’s weighty stuff. How the hell are the rest of us supposed to compete with that?

The Nelsons also have some Walter Ranes. This guy you know—he’s been in the Ensign. He’s one of the reasons some people look at the Ensign these days and say, Hey—this isn’t as crappy as it used to be!

The only point I can gloat about is that I own waaaaay more Mike Allred than the Nelsons do. They only have his Book of Mormon comix. I got tons more than that, like Madman popping eyeballs into his mouth. Nephi never did that. Plus, my books are signed. So I totally win this round.

But, as Casey Jex Smith (an artist, you moron!) says, “I can count the Mormon collectors of contemporary art on one hand.” Which I take to mean that none of us Mormons give a crap about art. But the Nelsons do give a crap. A pretty big one. Seriously. The breadth of this collection makes me feel like an ass. And as if owning all these pretty pictures isn’t enough, they have to go and say smart stuff about every single one. The only satisfying thing I can say about this book is that the photo of the Nelsons was clearly staged to show off Glen’s treads. And, dude, Glen—those shoes make you look like a tool.

So I guess we have two choices. We can do a denial-of-service attack on so no one ever sees the Glen & Marcia Nelson Collection, or we can step it up and buy some Mormon art so we don’t all look like a bunch of losers.

I guess we could start cheap. Galen Dara sometimes sells prints, and she paints blood and boobs and stuff. One of her zombie whores would look awesome on the wall next to your Proclamation on the Family.