Local artist Neil Whiteoak (centre) has an exhibit currently hanging at the Nelson Public Library. He is seen here with his support workers Jess Grant (left)

Local artist Neil Whiteoak (centre) has an exhibit currently hanging at the Nelson Public Library. He is seen here with his support workers Jess Grant (left)

Nelson artist explores passion for spirals

L.V. Rogers grad Neil Whiteoak is currently exhibiting his second art show at the Nelson Public Library.

Nelson artist Neil Whiteoak has an overwhelming impulse to create vibrant, spiral-based works of abstract art— so much so that he doesn’t even require a canvas.

“As you can see, Neil feels very passionate about art because he came right into your office and got to work,” Whiteoak’s support worker Vivienne Prather told the Star, while talking about his latest exhibit at the Nelson Public Library.

During the interview Whiteoak, who is non-verbal, worked intently to create a new composition on a back-issue of the newspaper.

“He picks out different colours and makes these beautiful, vibrant pieces of art. He produces at least one or two a day,” said another one of his workers, Jess Grant. “Neil’s painting don’t have names, but the main thing he likes to draw is spirals.”

And they end up everywhere.

“We all have them on the hoods of our cars! He’s even drawn them on us,” Grant laughed.

This is the 29-year-old L.V. Rogers grad’s second exhibition in town, after one a few years ago at Oxygen Art Centre. He was encouraged by the library’s Joanne Harris.

“The fact he was so passionate and producing so much, we thought ‘why not get it on display?’ He’s been giving out his art as presents to people he knows too. The people at the library were so excited,” said Grant.

According to his artist statement, Whiteoak loves nature and draws inspiration from the earth and being outdoors. He’s been moved by the community support he’s received, and during a recent trip to the library was thrilled to see his work on the walls.

“We take him to look at the exhibit and he seems to really enjoy the attention,” said Grant.

Whiteoak’s work will be on display until Feb. 28.