Miami Living Magazine

Danica Patrick

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Page 183 of 257

Nelson has been doodling ever since he can remember. Born in Havana, Cuba, his parents moved the family to the United States when he was 7 years old. "I come from a country where I rarely watched any TV and I was basically just outside living a normal life as a kid, riding my bicycle. And then I come here, and got to experience everything —it was the mid '60s— the music, the movies, advertisements... it all just really hit me." America's pop culture fueled his creativity. "My art from the very beginning was kinda cartoonish, kinda pop, but not like it is today." Before Nelson pursued a career as an artist, he had "all sorts of weird jobs" He obtained his real estate license at 18, then went into the title insurance business. "I just hated those jobs. The thing is, I followed the money." In the mid-'80s, he quit his job and threw himself into art. "You can't buy happiness. No matter what you're doing you, just gotta be happy. When I started this, it was never about the money. I just want to do this." He worked 18-hour days for six months. Four of his mixed media collages were taken to a gallery and sold in less than two weeks. "Pieces like, Bitch, Bitch, Bitch. Cocktails from Hell." The artwork varied in size and sold for around $1,500-$1,800, Nelson guesstimates. "It gave me a lot of confidence, because they sold." Nelson credits his success to the pieces' titles, the imager y, and COMMISSIONS "I did ShoeDazzle; it's Brian Lee and Kim Kardashian. Brian Lee approached me and said, 'Hey, we love the Material Girl piece; the Darling, all I require are fabulous shoes.' It was a commission. It's in their lobby. It's: Darling, all I require are dazzling shoes. I do commissions every once in awhile. It's not my thing because it takes away from my creativity. I just did one for Azul Airlines…. I put together a pilot and a stewardess kissing and the plane in the background says, Azul Airlines with the thought bubble. Here's another concept I did." He shows me his watch. "Corum is a Swiss company known for their bubble watches. I created three new pieces for them. I've done very high-end luggage, Heys. I've done shirts. I try to brand my art with high-end ticket items. I just finished a deal with a Canadian company to do a line of high-end puzzles. I'm very picky as to who I partner with. Delta Airlines bought a lot of art from me for their New York hub, L.A. hub, and Atlanta hub. The next project I'm doing with Delta is Miami. They saw me from a gallery. Everything, again, is like: I do business with this person and then this person sees it, and then this person tells this person. It's all word of mouth 'cause we have never advertised. I feel blessed. I feel happy. I feel that I'm at a point in my life where I'm just living what I always wanted to do. It's taken a long time to get here." High Maintenance

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