Jimmy Buffett received a welcome gift on New Year's Eve: a hand-painted surfboard from SoCal's "Surf Life Artist" Nelson Ruger. Nelson had been a Broadway designer, and had worked for Apple, and even designed theme parks, but he had a vision of how his life as an artist was meant to be: bringing a little Aloha into the lives of those who appreciated his work. And here he got the opportunity to bring Aloha to Margaritaville.
Nelson grew up along the beaches of southern New Jersey, finding his stomping grounds among Ocean City’s 7th Street and North Street beaches and boardwalks. Loving art from an early age, he dove into a career as a theatrical artist, designing scenery and lighting for stage productions up and down the eastern United States, lending his creative style from tiny one-room shows to huge regional theaters. In 1998, he fulfilled his dream of designing on Broadway. With this life goal achieved so young, Nelson began searching for new horizons and artistic possibilities. Nelson eventually left the theatre industry to pursue his surf painting and zen watercolor art.
He formed the ‘Nelson Makes Art!’ Studio in Virginia, where he spent several happy years developing commissioned pieces in his flip-flops. ‘Nelson Makes Art!’ then led him far far west to the opposite coast of sunny Los Angeles. As Creative Director at RGH Themed Entertainment, Nelson worked with a diverse team of artists across many disciplines, designing theme parks and attractions around the world.
In 2014, Nelson discovered a passion uniting two of his favorite things - painting, and tropical beverages. This led him to his most exciting works to date - the Huli Pau Glassware series - painted glassware featuring the beautiful waves of oceans from around the world. He's the guy who believes you deserve to live the life you've always wanted. And he's gonna do everything he can to help get you there.
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Notes from the show:
He didn't like the "drama" offstage of theatre. He went to work for Apple. He was invited to build a theme park in Los Angeles.
He opened an Etsy store.
Helped by Amy Colella
Liquitex enames to be discontinued.
SoCal vs. Hawaii
Ocean City, NJ