New work; using a surfboard as a canvas
Surfs up! Well maybe not with this special board…
When someone you know has a couple of surfboards lying around, not being used (except for that time when a group of friends took one out to a snowy hilltop, removed the fins and used it as a four person sledge) you do what any ‘sane’ artist would, ask if you can have the surfboards and then use them as a canvas.
Inspiration behind the piece
I had the idea of creating a human totem pole.
The idea was to create a body (almost like a tree) that was growing, morphing and pulsating into different parts, a body that was uninhibited and uncontrollable. It’s a ‘dream body’ with a sleeping figure at the bottom who acts as the subject; holding the weight of the fleshy mass above. I wanted to express a kind of sexual awakening or growth. I use the female body to create an image of feminine sexuality and presence. I love using distortion and optical illusions for people to see more in a piece the more they look at it. This is a kind of visual game I like to play with spectators.
How I made it
The initial sketch
The idea started as a sketch (as many of my paintings do) which I then transformed into a massive 2.4m pencil drawing on wallpaper. The pencil drawing formed the basis of the idea I had for the surfboard although with the surfboard art, I wanted the painting to be bright, vibrant and like ‘eye candy’.
Totem Pole pencil on wallpaper 240 x 40 cm
After sanding and then priming the surfboard with three coats of acrylic gesso, I started off with the main composition in layers of artists acrylic paint. To get the form right and decide on composition, I often first do a couple of layers in acrylic paint before moving to oil paint. It dries faster and lets me get the basics down before applying the thin layers of oil paint .
I did change my mind a few times (as usual) and had to paint over and repaint many of the areas in the background but I am really pleased with the winding, green vines I ended up with and the phallic like protrusions that sneaked into the composition:)
I enjoyed distorting the painted body and mismatching parts, hinting at others whilst completely blurring the lines of where one part starts and the other begins.
The whole fabulously surreal piece culminates, right at the top of the board, in fertile, voluptuous ‘breast fruits’ (I just made that up) and ‘angels trumpet’ flowers, an extremely poisonous flower known for it’s beauty and hallucinogenic properties.
I wanted all the warmth of colour and light to come from this point and move down the colour spectrum as well as the surfboard to the purple face at the base of the surfboard.
Get your limited edition miniature of the original surfboard! Available soon in my shop 🙂
These little babies are wooden miniature versions of the original board. They are each hand made by me, with a high quality print of the original surfboard art on the front and finished with three coats of lacquer. Only 100 of these have been made, each one is signed and numbered on the back.