Richard Nunez is an American artist based out of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Nunez is Native American with Mescolero-Apache lineage on both his mother’s and father’s sides.
Nunez was born in Fort Wayne, IN. in 1961. He says he only found out of his Native American blood in 2004 because his parents did not want him to have to suffer from prejudices to Native Americans during his childhood.
Nunez has always been interested in art. He cites an early interest in art even as young as kindergarten in Fort Wayne. He attended Southside High School in Fort Wayne, graduating in XXXXX. In high school, Nunez was most interested in History, English and Art. While not a member of choir, he enjoyed singing pop music citing The Carpenters has his favorite band in high school and Victor Hugo and Jack London were his favorite authors. He says he draws some artistic influence from the highly-stylized images found in comic books in the 1970s.
After high school, Nunez found work in various jobs including a two year stint in various capacities at WMEE radio in Fort Wayne during their groundbreaking transition from the AM to FM frequency.
He married his first wife in 1979 and daughter Erica Lynn was born in 1981. His second son, Ryan Nathaniel, was born in 1985.
At the urging of his wife, Nunez left WMEE and found work in different retail capacities working as a dishwasher in a Mexican restaurant, grocery store bagger and for such companies as Home Depot and Montgomery Wards. He eventually found a job with Dodge Phelps Magnet Wire where he stayed for 8 years where he worked as a forklift driver.
It was at Dodge Phelps that Nunez once again became interested in art. In 1986, Nunez decided to listen to art desire and started work on a pencil drawing of a tiger. He finished it a year and a half later. He was so proud of the piece that he would hang it on the wall at work so he could see it when he drove by on his forklift during his shifts.
Nunez was not yet ready to pursure art full-time and in 1988, he and his wife divorced. Nunez said he just wanted to keep the tiger during the divorce proceedings. He left Dodge Phelps.
Nunez once again worked various jobs after his divorce including stints as a bartender, standup comic and as a “serenader”, singing romantic songs for couples. He was also briefly married for a 2nd time.
In 1993, while still continuing to dabble in pencil work, Nunez decided to pack his belongings and with $500 to his name, decided to move to Phoenix, AZ. to try to find his path in life and discover a higher being. The drive from Fort Wayne, IN. to Phoenix took him through Dallas where his car broke down. Nunez says, “my car broke down in Dallas 17 years ago and I haven’t left since”.
In Dallas, Nunez found an uncle he had only once met as a child. Uncle Rudy took Nunez in and gave him a job working in construction. A year and half later, Uncle Rudy died unexpectedly and Nunez was once again without a job.
Nunez once again found work in the hospitality industry this time in positions ranging from bartender to head waiter to head trainer. Along the way, he passed up management opportunities because deep down inside, he knew he was going to be an artist. As an example, he worked at Planet Hollywood in Dallas as the head trainer and passed up an offer to move to Maui, HI. to open up a new restaurant. He once again found himself married and this marriage lasted 7 years. During this time, Nunez experimented in other mediums of art and expanded his art range beyond pencil drawings. He did murals in Las Colinas and Richardson, both suburbs of Dallas. He says he found his true art passion in 2001 when a wine bar in Flower Mound, TX., another suburb of Dallas, gave him an opportunity to truly become an artist by displaying his pieces and allowing him to paint live. He eventually became the general manager of the wine bar with the hope of increasing his art’s visibility by making the restaurant more successful.
In 2006, Nunez felt it was finally time to pursue art full-time. He says it was after his decision came on his 45th birthday when he realized that it was a “now or never” situation to chase his dream of becoming a full time artist. It was at this time he met Nancy Boldt, his current girlfriend. He decided to use her nickname when he formed NINA Art to showcase his work. Nancy now works as the director of NINA Art.
Through Boldt’s inspiration, Nunez decided early on that his life’s work would be supporting battered women and children, a cause that had always endeared Boldt. His goal with NINA Art is to use his talent to put him in a place with celebrities and athletes where they could work together to raise money for worthy causes and charities.
Boldt estimates that through NINA Art, in excess of $250,000 has been raised since 2006 for various charities. One of Nunez’s pieces sold for $17,000 at a fundraiser, the highest single amount for one of his paintings to date. Charities that have partnered with Nunez include Cystic Fibrosis, Cattle Barons Ball, American Diabetes Association, Arts for Andy, Top Hats (Humane Society), Children’s Advocacy Center of Denton County, Frisco Family Services, Friends of the Family, American Cancer Society, Frisco Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Fund, Tony Stewart Foundation, Boys and Girls Club of America, Children’s Speedway and Wednesday’s Child.
Nunez often works with various local, national and international celebrities to raise money for either their personal charity or a third-party charity.
Often works with various local, national, and international celebrities to raise money for either their charity or a third party charity. These celebrities include: Tony Stewart, Rod Stewart, Tony Orlando, Vince Gill, Demarcus Ware, Tom Jones, Wayfield Wright, Randy White, Deshard Choice, Walt Garrison, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Roger Staubach, Tony Romo, Michael Irvin, Preston Pearson, Quan Cosby, Bill Cosby, Houston Astros, Moses Malone, Jason Terry, Nastia Liukin, Dan Akroyd, Jim Belushi, BB King, Buddy Guy, Gipsy Kings, Livingston Taylor (brother of James), Nancy Lieberman, Deion Sander, Michael Johnson, Spudd Webb, Tony Dorset, Adam Sandler.
Nunez’s personal favorite charity is Children’s Advocacy Center of Denton County.