Nellien qualified as a Landscape Architect and spent 20 years in this profession before registering for a BVA degree at UNISA. There she was introduced to alternative art-making media, including digital text prints. She has continued to use digital text, often printed onto paper to serve as a background for combining with traditional media such as drawing and etching. Being fascinated by theories around origins and complexity, Nellien juxtaposes aspects of these readings against her images of natural elements and systems.
Regarding her current work, Nellien says: “On a walk I found a dead sparrow. It was too beautiful to discard without trying to immortalize it in some way. I kept finding dead birds, and these became the catalyst for my series of dead bird portraits in charcoal, etching, digital text and oil paint.”