Born in 1966 in north Wales where he still lives, Philip Nelson showed an interest and aptitude for carving at an early age. When he was seven years old he presented an appreciative headteacher with an owl he had carved from a piece of wood. He trained as a cabinet maker but after being introduced to the art of the decoy by the late Bob Ridges he decided to concentrate on bird carving. In 1987, some of his early work won the admiration of H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.
His work is on display in the Nature in Art Museum at Twigworth, Gloucester where his work is the only example of decorative decoy carving accepted for exhibition. This, together with an exhibition of his work at the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art in Maryland, U.S.A., led to an invitation to exhibit at the prestigious Easton Waterfowl Festival in the same state.
He has shown his work at the National Exhibition of Wildlife Sculpture in Norfolk where he won two best in show awards. He has been awarded four best in show awards at the National Exhibition of Wildlife Art, held annually in the north-west of England. His work has been part of The Best of The Best exhibition at the Art in Action event in Oxford. In 2012, Nature in Art showed a 25 year retrospective of his work entitled 'I carved until I set it free'
Recently, Philip has concentrated more on the art of the miniature bird and in 2013 was awarded The Gold Memorial Bowl for the best exhibit, a Mallard drake, at The Royal Miniature Society show. In 2015, his miniature Shoveler pair was awarded a commendation at the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year competition and a miniature Shoveler drake won the award The Best 3D exhibit at The National Exhibition of Wildlife Art.