Laguna Beach artist Nicholas Hernandez didn't start sculpting until he was 46, but it didn't take long for him to get noticed.
Almost 10 years later, in 2001 he was creating artwork for former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. The framed sculpture of their daughter, aptly titled "Chelsea," now hangs in the Clinton's New York home, Hernandez said.
Now 65, Hernandez celebrated the unveiling of his sculpture at Chapman University on Feb. 25. A friend of Presidential Fellow Ruebén Martinez, Hernandez was introduced to Chapman during a special chancellor's art exhibit in October. Shortly afterward he was commissioned by Chapman President Jim Doti to create a sculpture named "Emergence," which now sits in university's Escalette Plaza in Orange.
However, Hernandez is no stranger to recognition.
In 2008, he won the Lorenzo il Magnifico de Medici award at the Florence Biennale international art fair in Italy, which he describes as "the Olympics of art." Hernandez represented the United States among 890 artists — 160 of whom were sculptors — from 72 countries.