Category Archives: Art

MUSARITY LBC: An event to gather food for the hungry

We’re glad to announce that the Musarity Tour will be heading to The Good Bar in Long Beach, CA this Thursday, February 25th.

The event will showcase the work of local artists such as Steffan Attardo, Mark Nisbet, Steve Fawley and Ignacio Villanueva, and musical guests include DJ Justin Reynolds, VAVAK and The Absynth Quartet who are driving down from Humboltd for the shin dig.

Admission is 1 can of food per person to be donated to the Long Beach rescue Mission.

Looking forward to seeing you all there.

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The Musarity Tour: Local Retailers Give Back

This week kicks off the EIDON Musarity tour at Icons of Surf in San Clemente on June 25th and there’s a lot to be excited about.

Eidon is a small brand whose foundation is based on close partnerships with independent surf shops, and because we incorporate photography and art in so much of what we do, we’ve partnered up with 5 California surf shops and a bunch of great painters, illustrators and photographers, to co-host a series art & music events that gives back to the community.

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The events will feature artwork and photography from the likes of Mark McInnis, Matt Wignall, Ryan Bryant, Aaron Dorff, Matt Obrien and Kevin Ginther, and all evenings will be kept musical thanks to live performances by Ray Barbee who was kind enough to support us by performing throughout the entire Musarity Tour.

Guests will be asked to bring at least one can of food (or any other type of non-perishable and nourishing food item) and all donations will be given to a local charity of the store’s choice.

Musarity Tour event dates & locations:

June 25th: Icons of Surf, San Clemente
June 26th: Hobie Surf Shop, Laguna
June 27th: Kanvas by Katin, Surfside
June 29th: Homegrown Surf Shop, Ventura
June 30th: J7 Surfboards, Santa Barbara

All events are from 5 to 7 pm.

Legend John Severson’s new book set to become surf scripture

Book cover: John Severson's SURF
Book cover: John Severson’s SURF

He started Surfer mag. He made Surf Fever, and created the now iconic font that graced its first promotional posters. His pantings and illustrations have been called the original surf art. And he’s spent more than 50 years trying to keep things real in the world of wave riders. How much more could John Severson possibly give to the surf scene?

At least one more book, apparently.

Vintage surf pic from John Severson's SURF
Vintage surf pic from John Severson’s SURF

One of the biggest, baddest grandaddies of them all, Severson has just launched his new book, simply titled John Severson’s SURF, this month. Spanning Severson’s decades in the scene, and including tons of his surf artwork and photos, the book is both a dedication to and memoir from one of the single most important people the sport has ever known. And in that respect, it’s bound to become required reading for anyone who’s passionate about surfing.

Severson started surfing all the way back in the mid 1950s, when, after being drafted by the army and stationed in Oahu, he was ordered to join the Army surf team. After that, he soon went on to pursue the sport of his own free will.

John Severson & Leo Bestgen doing a layout for Surfer Mag
John Severson & Leo Bestgen doing a layout for Surfer Mag

By 1961, he’d already put out the classic movie ‘Surf Fever,’ and was routinely writing, illustrating and doing photography for a magazine he’d started to promote the film. Then called The Surfer, the magazine lost the “The” somewhere along the way, and is now known only as Surfer, the first and foremost in surf publishing.

Despite how well Severson managed to do for himself, though, he never let the success turn him square. He’s big on keeping the surf scene genuine, having at one point called out the Beach Boys for their “shameless appropriation” of the culture. That’s not because he’s a hater, or anything. Quite the contrary – Severson keeps it real because he loves surf.

A John Severson Surf painting from 1956
A John Severson Surf painting from 1956

“As for the art,” he has said, “I don’t paint for critics and always felt that to do that was not getting closer to your heart or, in my case, my love of the ocean. I live my life on my own terms and paint with a passion for something that is quite incredible on this planet. Waves.”

If you want to get a deeper look at Severson’s more than 50 years of surf film, photography, art and publishing, look out for John Severson’s SURF, out now from Damiani Press/Puka Puka.

Surf Texas: waiting for waves in the Lone Star State

Not everything’s bigger in Texas. When it comes to the Lone Star State’s surf scene, Texans just have to make do with something a little more modest than what you’d find in surf meccas like Hawaii or California. Even the waves themselves are on the small side most of the time. But as Surf Texas, a new photography book from Kenny Braun shows us, size isn’t everything.

Book cover for Kenny Braun's Surf Texas
Book cover for Kenny Braun’s Surf Texas

Published this year with a foreword by Texas-based writer Stephen Harrigan, Surf Texas is a cool and stark new photo essay that looks at what it’s like to be a surfer in Texas. Spoilers: it’s not super easy.

Sure, the state lays claim to a pretty sizeable stretch of the Gulf Coast, with its coastline spanning from Galveston to South Padre. And, yeah, its shores do sometimes serve up some beautiful surf, but that’s by no means a given. Finding a good wave is a slow, unsure business, and as a result, Texas’ surfers have to be patient, devoted, and a little used to disappointment.

Photo from Kenny braun's Surf Texas
Photo from Kenny braun’s Surf Texas
Photo From Kenny Braun's Surf Texas
Photo From Kenny Braun’s Surf Texas

That quiet, downbeat, vibe is all over Braun’s Surf Texas, with what Harrigan describes in the foreword as “something altogether different, a somewhat journalistic black and white chronicle that presents surfing not as high adventure but as dogged pursuit.”

Here, you get lonely landscapes and shots of hauntingly calm, glassy water that’s dark as ink at night. That’s not to say that Braun’s photos can’t also be beautiful, or that they don’t capture the bursts of energy that must come with catching the kind of great surf that’s more elusive in Texas.

Photo from Kenny Braun's Surf Texas
Photo from Kenny Braun’s Surf Texas

But, with Surf Texas, you do get the feeling of something harder, slower, and sometimes even a little sad — a totally different side to the pursuit of surfing, but one that’s definitely worth checking out.

To check out Kenny Braun, visit his website here, and for a copy of Surf Texas, get it online via the University of Texas Press here.

Surfing UK: Coffins, a King, & the Crazy History of Surfing in Britain

What do the roaring 20s, coffins, the British monarchy, and surfing have in common? More than you think. Though the story of how surfing first came to the States is pretty well known, the history of the UK’s first wave of surfers is seldom told on our side of the pond, which is kind of a shame, since it’s so freaking nuts. It’s a good thing then that there are still old pictures kicking around that prove it all really happened.

Cornwall early 1920s British surfing first wave coffin lid cupboard door
Cornwall early 1920s British surfing on a coffin lid

The First Wave: surfers and their stories is a new photo and video exhibit at Devon’s Museum of British Surfing. Revisiting the madness of the UK surf scene’s first steps, it brings together historic pics of the country’s early surfers — from the teenage thrill seekers of the flapper era to the Prime Minister’s personal entourage and even some royals for good measure.

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The First Wave: Surfers & their Stories – Exhibit poster

In the earliest days of the UK surf scene, Brits were still figuring out the basics. In the 1910s, modern surf boards were still almost a century away, and even the basic shaped surfboard wouldn’t hit the UK coastline for years. Instead, daredevils who got into “surf riding,” as it was then called, hopped on super basic wooden boards, like floorboards, cupboard doors, or “coffin lids,” gliding over waves on their stomachs.

Sometimes these “coffin lids” lived up to their name, as photos from the exhibit show young people in old-timey swimwear posing with boards provided by their local undertaker. But that probably just added to the cool, death-defying image of this extreme new sport.

Surfers on the north coast of Cornwall, 1919 Daily Mail UK
Surfers on the north coast of Cornwall, 1919 Daily Mail UK

By the 1920s and 30s, surfing in the UK was gaining steam, even with bigwigs. An picture from the exhibit taken in 1927 shows former Prime Minister William Gladstone with friends clutching their surfboards on a beach in North Devon.

Even more impressive, if you go deeper and delve into the museum’s archives you’ll even hit a couple of branches of the royal family tree. As early as 1920, Prince Edward (who later became King Edward VIII) got heavy into the surfing.

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Seen here: Prince Edward, Lord Louis, Prince Kalakaua Kawanakoa & Prince David

Photos of him in Hawaii are the first ever to show a Brit standing up on a surfboard, while other archive pictures show the future king hanging with friend Lord Louis Mountbatten, Hawaiian prince Kalakaua Kawananakoa, and David Kahanamoku, brother of legendary Duke Kahanamoku. With such an illustrious aficionado championing it, surfing in the UK could only swell in popularity. And by 1923, the nation would have its first official surf club, founded by Nigel Oxenden, a Birtish Army major and two-time Military cross winner who served in both WWI and WWII.

The First Wave goes on to highlight all the major milestones and pioneers in the scene in years to come — from Gwyn Haslock, the first ever woman to participate in surf competitions in the 60s, to Ted Deerhurst, the man who gave up being the Earl of Coventry so he could become Britain’s first pro surfer in 1978.

Nigel Oxenden Britain's First surf Club founded 1923
Nigel Oxenden, Britain’s first surf club founder 1923

The rise of surf culture in the UK has been so successful that, today, the industry pulls in nearly 2 billion British pounds a year. But if you want to see the unlikely (even slightly insane) origins of the now flourishing scene, devon’s surf museum is the right place to start. With vintage boards, pre-WWII surf videos, and historic pictures of crazy people riding flat, rectangular planks of wood, First Wave is probably the most complete history of Britain’s love affair with surfing.

If you happpen to be in North Devon in the UK this year, the exhibit runs until 2015 at the Museum of British Surfing. Otherwise, check them out online for a look the wild way the sport found its footing on the other side of the Atlantic.

 

“Are Your Motives Pure?” New Ray Pettibon surf art exhibit brings swell to NYC

For all of you chilling in the Northeast: you may not always find yourselves at the hub of surf culture, but a new art exhibit in Manhattan is bringing the swell to New York City. This month, in a show titled “Are Your Motives Pure?” American punk artist Raymond Pettibon displays over 25 years of surf art at New York’s Venus Over Manhattan gallery.

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Raymond Pettibon Surf Art

A California native who’s based in L.A., Pettibon is famous for his work in the punk rock world, which includes designing the iconic logo for hardcore punk band Black Flag. He’s also lent his comic book/noir style to tons of album covers over the years — gritty artwork that often includes strange and cryptic text, as in the classic Sonic Youth album cover for “Goo.”

This latest exhibit, though, is a world apart from the punker album art that Pettibon is best known for. While he doesn’t consider himself to be a surfer per se, Pettibon has spent the better part of three decades painting surfers and surf scenes. With surf art dating from 1985 to 2013, the exhibit brings together a sublime if not existential outlook on surfing.

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Are your motives pure? Exhibit NYC

Viewed from an outsider’s perspective, surfing for Pettibon seems to represent a particular philosophy or psychological state — a place for contemplation, an acceptance of the largeness of nature and smallness of humankind. Whether it’s a tiny, solitary surfer engulfed by an overwhelming blue composition, or poetic fragments and musings on the “perfection of bodily well being,” the elements that make up Pettibon’s surf art bring a new insight to the sport and its culture.

And while most of the artist’s work over the years has tended toward smaller scale black-and-white paintings and illustrations — dark, edgy stuff communicating the angst of marginalization — the surf art featured in “Are Your Motives Pure?” seems a lot more liberated, both in its use of rich color and big, sweeping scales.

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Raymond Pettibon Surf Art

Freer and more upbeat, though no less thoughtful than much of Pettibon’s other work, The New York Times Style Magazine has called the surf paintings “a slick and sunny slice of American pop culture,” while Vanity Fair is listing the exhibit as one of this month’s must-see art shows, right up there with Gaugin and Jackson Pollock.

Worth checking out whether you’re into surf, punk, counterculture, comics, or just cool art in general, “Are Your Motives Pure?” runs at Venus Over Manhattan gallery until May 17. Get the details at the gallery’s website here.

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Raymond Pettibon Surf Art

The land of fire and ice: Russia, The Outpost Vol. 1 review

We just got a sweet late autumn treat in the form of a new DVD/book combo created by Chris Burkard and Ben Weiland. Russia, The Outpost Vol. 1 is a short surf flick, photography book, adventure tale, buddy movie, and exciting bit of travel journalism all rolled into one neat little package.

Here we follow Burkard and Weiland — along with surfers Keith Malloy, Dane Gudauskas, Cyrus Sutton, Trevor Gordon and Foster Huntington — as they venture to Russia’s remote and wild Kamchatka Peninsula, looking for the kind of surfing that few, if any, have ever experienced.

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The location is an unlikely one as far as surf destinations go. Boasting an insanely long coastline, it’s the most volcanic spot on earth, and also one of the coldest. Then there’s the fact that Kamchatka was, until recently, closed to outsiders for political reasons. All of these things have allowed this pristine yet foreboding place to remain almost completely untouched by surfers and other visitors.

But that seems to have been the main draw for Burkard, who poetically describes the “forbidden territory” of Kamchatka as “the land of fire and ice.”

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Indeed, the mythic quality of Russia’s Kamchatka starts to dawn on you as Burkard and his team pile into an old Russian military vehicle to navigate the impasses of volcanic rock and dense forrest blocking access to the coastline at most points — only in the city do roads ever lead directly to the coast.

Reminiscent of Kerouac’s On The Road, the whole thing kind of reads like a love poem to nature, freedom and the joys of leaving civilization behind. And, even as the team begins to “go native” — learning to use a fishing bow from locals, camping in the haunts of grizzly bears, and donning mud masks for a dip in natural hot springs (it puts hair on your chest) — you do find yourself getting swept up by the adventure and romance of it all.

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An ambitious multimedia project, Russia, The Outpost Vol. 1 is a work to arouse wanderlust, giving you just the slightest sense of what it’s like to be in the no man’s land of dynamism and duality that is the Kamchatka Peninsula — a place of such scale, emptiness and grand beauty that you have to ask yourself, ‘where do I even begin?’

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To order Russia, The Outpost Vol. 1 film & zine,  click here. 

Come hell or cold water: surfing in the world’s most extreme temperatures

With winter just weeks away for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, we’ve got a long, cold season ahead of us. But, while most of us think of cold as hoodie weather, cold water surfers are taking on way more extreme temperatures than that, sometimes going as far as the Arctic Circle to catch a good wave. These are the kind of surfers who’d rather trek through snow than sand to get to a swell.

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An image taken from “Numb, Six Years of Cold Water Adventure” (Iceland)

For the uninitiated, the whole idea of cold water surfing might seem painful, even borderline crazy. But once you get a closer picture of the cold water experience, you realize there’s a fine line between balls-out insanity and blissful enlightenment. For starters, surfing in the world’s colder regions can be pretty beautiful, especially if you’re the type of wanderer who likes some solitude.

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From “Numb, Siz Years of Cold Water (rain in North Cornwall)

That wide open, empty beauty certainly isn’t lost on photographer Tim Nunn or surfer Ian Battrick; the pair’s recent photography book, Numb, chronicles their six year adventure to some of the world’s most brutally frigid surf spots, like Canada, Scotland, Iceland and Norway. Likewise, surf photographer James Katsipis’s recent Cold Water Surfer Series photo project details a winter-long season of surf in Montauk, New York.

James Katsipis Cold Water Surfer Series Austin E The Dock
From James Katsipis Cold Water Surfer Series

These kinds of photo projects give you a small glimpse into just how intense, arduous, and beautiful this icy surf experience can be. But aside from the freezing or near-freezing water, these projects also chronicle some of the less obvious challenges of cold water surfing. Take a surf trip to Scandinavia, Canada or The U.K., and you can expect crazy winds, hail and sometimes even blizzards.

You’ll also need to get used to a full wetsuit, including the gloves, booties and hood. It may not feel natural at first, but without all that rubber, you wouldn’t last five minutes in that kind of water. Of course, if you stick to the warmer, more traditional surf spots, you won’t have to worry about any of that. So why cold water surf at all?

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A still from Yassin Ouhilal’s “Arctic Surf”

Well, in his short film Arctic Surf, surf filmmaker Yassine Ouhilal offers up a few good reasons. Ouhilal and his team made a point of going pretty much as far north as you can go, hitting the North Coast of Norway and even the Russian border in search of spots where nobody’s ever surfed before.

The yearning for something pristine, new and solitary has led surfers deeper and deeper toward cold waters, where they can finally and completely escape the crowds. That desire to withdraw is echoed in Katsipis’ own explanation of why he started winter surfing in Montauk:

“As my generation grew older, the town grew as well. More and more people discovered our secret paradise [...] We traded in our warm and sunny surfing season for a cold and dark one. What other option did we have?”

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Still from “Arctic Surf”

But there may even be something bigger in the lure of cold water surfing. Arctic Surf compares the surfer to the mountain climber. While, for the mountaineer, there’s an apex to be reached, a concrete point at which you succeed, with surfing, the goal is often much more vague. “Surfing is kind of a perpetual thing, you’re never going to be totally satisfied,” says Ouhilal, “it’s kind of within you to determine whether you’ve succeeded or not.”

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From “Numb, Six Years of Cold Water”

But, when you camp out in a blizzard, trek over icy mountains with your board, or paddle out into untouched waters squarely within the Arctic Circle, that’s probably the closest a surfer can ever come to that summit of Everest feeling. And as crazy and masochistic as it all sounds, it’s probably exactly what success feels like.

Super real: the ultra-reality of today’s youth culture

Clean’s been done to death. Enter the era of grit.

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Found in What Youth’s “Scrapbook”

For this generation of surfers, skateboarders, scenesters, and subculture dwellers, getting back to reality is where it’s at. In every area of youth culture today, there’s a huge slant toward the unprocessed — raw video, raw music and raw-looking idols.

Sure, the 80s and early 90s had their grimy punk and grunge bands and the even the 60s had its au-naturel hippies. But this latest wave of ultra-reality seekers is pushing even harder for culture that’s got that unrefined, unpolished aesthetic.

We see it in print, in mags like Monster Children and Bitchslap Magazine, where photos of surfing, skateboarding, design, fashion and rocking out all lean toward a gritty, home-made look.

We see it in film and video too, with a resurrection of the 8mm camera and naturalistic, home video-style footage, even for stuff like surf movies. Just take a look at Dear Suburbia or punk surf film Kill the Matador and you’ll see how much we’ve shifted into our love of the unfiltered.

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Dane Reynolds by Dion Agius for What Youth Issue #1

But this obsession with what’s real and what’s genuine isn’t just shaping the look or feel of today’s youth culture. It’s actually determining the type of culture we consume, with a heavier than ever interest in independent or small-budget movies, music and magazines.

Only ten years ago, it would have felt completely normal to flip through the pages of a surf or fashion mag and find spray-tanned, photoshopped ads from big brands, immaculately edited with high-tech and repackaged for mass consumption.

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A few pages from Monster Children

But aside from the fact that super processed, phoney, big-budget stuff just isn’t cool anymore, youth culture today is living a rebellion that’s actually doing its members some good.

With even Hollywood filmmakers taking a cue from indie directors and YouTube stars, and huge fashion labels striving for that Instagram effect, young people are in a better position than ever to demand something real and true from the industries and scenes that so heavily rely on them.

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Screening of Dear Suburbia

Now is a time of vintage, low-tech and low-budget, of democratized media and a call for naturalism. And whether they like it or not, big business is going to have to buck up and start delivering. ‘Cause the kids just won’t swallow the fake stuff anymore.

 

It’s all good: C’est Beau Handwork

Picture a working class Montreal neighborhood.

Its streets have got potholes the size of your head. And its old wrought iron staircases lead up to antique apartments filled with young people just bristling to get out after almost five months of winter.

Next door is a corner store where you can buy lotto tickets, beer and cigarettes. And all around you is a maze of back alleys and side streets plastered with posters for rock shows, graffiti, signs for missing cats and notices for next weekend’s garage sale.

Oh, and not far down the way, you’ll find a little workshop where they take standard, mass-produced skateboards and turn them into a thing beauty. That’s C’est Beau.

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From C’est Beau’s “Post-Coït” exhibit

Based out of Montreal’s blue collar Hochelaga neighborhood, C’est Beau Handwork originally started up in another, more remote area of Quebec (the Canadian province where Montreal is located)– one of those countless regions where the old French Catholic tradition still lives strong in towns named after saints.

So down in St-Gabriel, C’est Beau’s first recycled, handmade and hand-painted skateboards hit the road. The whole idea being that throwing out good wood is kind of like hosing down your driveway after a nice rain: “Ça fait aucun esti de sens vieux con.” Or in other words, it makes no f*cking sense.

Nowadays, though, C’est Beau works out of an old industrial space a quick ride from Montreal’s bustling corporate, commercial and residential center.

From there, they recut and rework old boards, which are then hand painted in the style of any one of the many artists that seem to be part of their collective. The end result can be an image of anything from Buzz Lightyear to a butt plug, a moody black and white portrait to kitschy photo booth snapshots.

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From C’est Beau’s “Post-Coït” exhibit

So what does C’est Beau get up to during the colder moths of the year, when snow fills those back alleys and Montrealers keep their doors and windows shut? Their attitude seems to be that’s it’s no big deal, and their natural inclination seems to run toward benders. C’est Beau’s videos of raucous house parties, offensive acts at art shows and other debaucheries are proof enough of that.

But then again, it’s all there in their name. Because even though the literal translation of c’est beau means “it’s beautiful” – which of course their work is – anyone who’s lived in Montreal can tell you that it more often means “it’s all good.”

 

“Une Brosse” (translation: A Bender) Video:

C’est Beau | Handwork – Une brosse. from C’est Beau | Handwork on Vimeo.

 

“L’Été (translation: Summertime) Video”