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"Concrete Dreams", Photograph by John Hall

"Concrete Dreams", Photograph by John Hall


Surf as Art

Santa Barbara Surfrider Unites Art with Activism


Living in Santa Barbara provides great opportunities to enjoy surf, sand, and sun and to interact with the sea as people have done for centuries. Starting November 6, the Santa Barbara chapter of the international Surfrider Foundation will explore this longstanding connection between people and the ocean through an art exhibit: Ocean Vision - Local Artists Celebrate the Sea.

Nine Santa Barbara artists will display photographs, paintings, monotypes, and installations that capture the essence of the Central Coast as well as tempting scenes from exotic locales around the globe. Collectively, the participating artists hope to inspire people to be good stewards of the oceans of the world.

One of the participating photographers, Brandon Aroyen, who graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography and has published work in many major surf magazines, explained that this exhibit will be unique from others he has contributed to. “The artists that are involved represent quite the spectrum of people,” he said. The show will include a wide range of surf-related art, from rarely seen photographs of eras past to progressive installations created specifically for this exhibit.

"Seeing the Light", Monotype by Karyn Walsh
Click to enlarge photo

Seeing the Light”, Monotype by Karyn Walsh

Each participating artist has a unique story and style. An avid surfer, John Hall’s path led him through professional polo, race car driving, and film directing before leading to surf and action photography. At the other end of the spectrum is Matt Moore, owner of Rincon Designs surf shop in Carpinteria. “I’ve been painting since I was a kid,” Moore said, “so it’s been a lifelong passion.”

Artist Blakeney Sanford, a native of Santa Barbara’s wine country, works with epoxy resin and light to create pieces that affect the viewer’s “environment and sensory experience.” Larry Iwerks’s chosen medium is paint, which he uses to capture the beauty of places he wants to see preserved. The signature monotype prints Karyn Walsh creates reflect her lifelong love of the ocean, while Nise Baker experiments in styles ranging from Impressionistic to Abstract and will exhibit work using surfboards as canvases.

All proceeds from art sold at the show will be donated to the Santa Barbara chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and will help fund its programs promoting public beach access, clean water, and preservation of the Gaviota Coast. Purchasers of the art will be entered in a raffle to win surf lessons.

As Surfrider prepares for the exhibit’s opening, Events Director Matt Wallace expressed his excitement. “S.B. Surfrider has participated in, sponsored, and benefited from several great art shows in the past, but we have never put one together from the ground up,” he said. “We look forward to an amazing show that will reach and appeal to a broad spectrum of the community.” Scott Bull, S.B. Surfrider Chapter chair added, “We are grateful to the artists who have come together to support the local chapter. We are happy to showcase their talents in this unique gallery, all in the name of our treasured coast.”

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The grand opening for Ocean Vision will be held at 33 Jewels at El Paseo from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, November 6. On Thursday, December 4, the gallery will host a reception with the artists from 5-8 p.m., followed by Surfrider’s holiday party from 8-10. The closing reception takes place on January 16 from 5-8 p.m. To learn more about participating artists or to learn how to get involved with Surfrider’s Santa Barbara chapter, call 899-2583 or go to surfrider.org/santabarbara.

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