Artist Nick Kuchar’s life on the west side of Oahu started with a dream-like quality. Born and raised in coastal Florida, Kuchar and his wife, Rachel, ventured to the Hawaiian islands for their honeymoon some 13 years ago and quickly decided to turn the holiday into a permanent stay. Of course, no fantasy is as simple in reality. Before launching his business, the Kuchars first waited tables and scraped-by for a few years. Though the hardship is relative: It was the landscape, sun and surf were their main drivers in those early days.
Then in 2010, life shifted. When looking for artwork to hang in their home, Kuchar instead turned to his background in design and the natural inspiration of his surroundings. “I started illustrating some of our favorite spots here in Hawaii,” he says. “It was places that we surfed at, places we hiked, or little towns we like to hang out and grab lunch at.” This soon developed into an online shop. “It kind of snowballed from there. Some local galleries found my work and we’ve grown our list of galleries that we wholesale to.”
Today, Kuchar’s small business is thriving. In his studio, situated in a small structure behind their craftsman-style home, Kuchar keeps busy sketching and framing his work while his shop manager is handling orders. While his artwork is being stocked in more and more shops across the islands, Kuchar has met growing demand by creating supplemental goods — from hats to towels, coasters and recently a collaborative run of men’s and women’s shoes with Olukai.