Born in Wisconsin, Bruce W. Nelson has been using his paintbrush to reflect the world around him since he was 8 years old. His parents saw an early glimpse of talent and had him tutored in oil painting. Bruce attended Rockford College in Illinois. A deep regard for nature as well as a need for employable skill led to a minor in biology, but he majored in art. School was followed by a year in Europe to study the European approach to art and also to explore himself.
In 1980 on a summer vacation while in college, he came to Alaska for a commercial fishing job and never left. He fished on many different boats and different fisheries throughout the state of Alaska- from deck hand to skipper.
His work exposed him to much of remote Alaska and gave him time to closely observe coastal landscapes and the wildlife. Drawing or painting when he had any time off, he finally devoted full time to his painting in 1989.
As a professional artist he has many originals, reproductions and posters to his credit. Some of his works include 3 local Kodiak crab festival posters, 1996 Alaska State medallion, 2001 Indiana state trout stamp, works for Ducks Unlimited, Alaska Outdoor Council, and was awarded a grant for the only scientific illustrations of a complete set of the Gray whale bones. Other paintings have been purchased by Alaskan Museums, NOAA/ NMFS, Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game, Alaska State Parks, Kodiak Island Visitor Center and art collectors.
Bruce lives and works out of his studio on Kodiak Island.