Nello Williams

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Keepsake Artist Nello Williams

 

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Nello Williams

Title: Hallmark Artist
Date started at Hallmark: 1995
Date started at Keepsakes: 1995
Hometown: Safford, Arizona

Nello Williams grew up drawing anytime, anyplace, even in school—and not just in art class. His class notes ended up looking more like artwork than a study sheet.

The young artist started out sculpting the ships and robots from the television program Lost in Space. Once, he saw a scary dungeon set advertised in a comic book, but like most kids, couldn't afford to buy it. So Nello recreated the toy instead.

Popular culture kept on inspiring Nello's art. In high school, he and a friend made masks of characters from Planet of the Apes—a big movie of the day. Now he keeps up on the latest trends for his creations in Keepsake Ornaments.

Nello spends much of his outside time nurturing one of his other big interests—music. He designed the album covers (wishful thinking) and T-shirts for his high school garage band. He even designed a guitar for himself, and twenty years later, he actually built it! Nello sees guitar design as a place where his two great loves, sculpture and music, meet.

Syrupy Snow Cone Surprise

Syrupy Snow Cone Surprise

Nellco creator and Keepsake Artist Nello Williams has a bit of a sweet tooth, especially when it comes to snow cones. His favorite flavor? Blue raspberry! When he developed the concept for Syrupy Snow Cone Surprise, he was inspired by his friend’s local shaved ice shoppe. Nello was also motivated by the simplicity and delight of carnival food, similar to his 2016 popcorn machine Keepsake Ornament, Poppy Holidays. However, there was nothing simple about designing a 3-D ornament, especially one with that retro, Nellco magic. Using the same program that moviemakers utilize to create animated films, Nello digitally sculpted Syrupy Snow Cone Surprise. Later, a lovely rendition of “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” was composed, along with the light and simultaneous motion of snowflakes softly falling. Nello said, “The sound studio professionals did a super job on the music.” Keeping with the snowy theme, Nello added embossed snowflakes to the back of the snow cone stand. He said, “It’s a cool, little surprise.”

Little Strummer

Little Strummer

Strumming on the strings comes naturally to Keepsake Artist Nello Williams, who plays and builds guitars for fun. So when he was tasked with designing the first mini ornament to include sound, Little Strummer soon became one of his favorite Keepsakes to create. Designed with standard dimensions in his sculpting software, Nello shrunk the guitar to a scaled-down miniature. Nello said, “Everything is in proportion to a regular-sized guitar.” If that wasn’t impressive enough, he added real strings to the fretboard for a more authentic experience. This tiny replica of an archtop guitar wouldn’t be complete without the upbeat Christmas carols it plays. Push the button on the side, and you’ll hear joyful versions of “Jingle Bells” and “Up on the Housetop.” Nello was all smiles when he said, “I loved working on this ornament.”

Jolly Old St. Nicholas

Jolly Old St. Nicholas

Artist Nello Williams is enamored with the nostalgia of Americana architecture, especially the designs of the 30s and 40s. For this Jolly Old St. Nicholas Keepsake Ornament, he wanted to bring in the rich mahogany wood that makes older homes so warm and cozy. And, when it came to imagining St. Nick in this inviting living space, Nello brought that snuggly, storybook feeling to life, too. Part of a collection called Songs of the Season, this merrymaking Santa is one of six ornaments in the set celebrating classic carols. Presented in a gorgeous gift box, each ornament is designed by a different artist. Also a Keepsake Ornament Club exclusive, Songs of the Season is definitely extra charming with Nello’s style. When researching, Nello said, “I looked at vintage clip art used for advertising…and watched one of my favorite holiday movies.” Taking the inspiration from these influences, he went to work designing Jolly Old St. Nicholas, who stands beneath the mantle, holding a cheerful present in his hand. To develop the entire piece, Nello used three different sculpting programs that ranged from concepting the sweet Santa character to rendering the color palette. “I really enjoy creating Santas,” Nello said. “And I like that period of graphic design, too. It never seems to go away. There are certain trends that come and go, but this one still shows up.”

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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer © & ® or ™ The Rudolph Co., L.P. All elements under license to Character Arts, LLC. All rights reserved.
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town © 1970, renewed 1998 Classic Media, LLC. Character names, images and other indicia are trademarks of and copyrighted by Classic Media, LLC. All rights reserved, by Classic Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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