Catching Up with Nick Kuchar

Nick Kuchar is an O'ahu based artist best known for his retro color palette and mod typography style inspired by vintage surf and travel art.  We recently caught up with Nick for a Q & A session where we chatted about his role as a father, what keeps his creativity flowing, and advice for aspiring artists. Read our Q & A below!

What’s your story? How did art become part of your life? 

I’ve been drawing since I was 2 or 3 years old. I’ve always loved creating things from nothing and feel I’ve been wired as an entrepreneur as long as I can remember. My grandmother was a talented pastel artist and taught me a lot growing up about the creative eye, design process & making a living selling your work.

First thing you do when you get up in the morning? 

Lately with a newborn it’s been straight into feeding and changing diapers. Grateful for those days I can make a pot of coffee before getting started! Once he’s bigger my favorite morning routine is a surf session before the winds pick up.

As a father of three young kids, how does family play a role in your work? What do you want to instill in the next generation?

That’s a great question. I find family life creeping more and more into my daily inspiration. After all, the best inspiration are things near and dear to you with emotional value. I love teaching my kids the importance of kindness and stewarding the land and relationships around you. That will be our legacy.  

What inspires you? 

I always say “surfing and hiking” but on a deeper level it’s the emotions and experiences that come along with those activities. It can be anything from color palettes, an interaction shared with someone else, a perfect set of waves that rolls through or an unexpected view.

What would you say to an aspiring artist? 

The best advice is to keep creating and honing in on what your style is and what “design language” you’ll portray with your work. Don’t be put down by anyone who doubts or doesn’t believe in you but also be receptive to constructive criticism. It sounds cheesy, but you will find success if you stay humble and are always willing to learn.

What does a perfect day look like? 

The perfect day is beach time with family, tandem surf and head high glassy groundswell, well-behaving kids, acai bowls and Stortos sandwiches for lunch and date night with my wife.

What is your favorite failure?

There’s so many it’s hard to choose!  I love the saying “There is no such thing as failure, only success and learning.”  I learn a lot! hah. In all seriousness, any failure that I can learn and grow from that has more long term positives than short-term negatives is the best kind.

Do you have a favorite project or artwork you’ve done?

I’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity to work with many awesome companies and brands. Obviously designing a few shirts for Kahala was great fun and a way to see my art something other than a paper print. The Moloka‘i to Oahu Paddleboard Race art I created as well as the design collection for ANA Airlines are a couple other exciting ones that come to mind. I also love creating the travel prints from my favorite locations in Hawaii as they always spark great conversation with customers and friends.

An artist/album you’re listening to these days? 

I love listening to talented song writers, guys like Jason Isbell and the Avett Brothers. Music for the creative process I also love is any slack key guitar and George Helm.

Best places on O'ahu? 

O'ahu is so diverse.  My favorite places could be a hike far removed from civilization one day (somewhere like Ka‘ena Point or one of the summit hikes up in the Ko‘olau Mountains) and a happy hour pau hana in Waikiki the next (I’m looking at you House Without a Key & Buho Mexican). And, of course anywhere that has glassy waves. As an artist it’s really important to stay connected with the place you find inspiration; In my case, it’s the outdoors and experiences that come along with it.


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