Shorepound Lost and Found

Mark Cunningham and Jonathan Steinberg turn lost-at-sea objects into art

A sample of Cunningham's finds. Photo courtesy of Great Highway Gallery
A sample of Cunningham’s shorebreak finds. Photo courtesy of Great Highway Gallery

Bodysurfer and veteran North Shore lifeguard Mark Cunningham and Santa Cruz mat-riding legend Jonathan Steinberg have recently teamed up with the Great Highway Gallery in San Francisco to create an exhibition aptly named Shorepound Lost and Found.

Since retiring from lifeguarding on the North Shore, Cunningham has been establishing himself as an artist by repurposing objects found in the shorebreak into three-dimensional sculptures. His collection of treasures have appeared in galleries in Honolulu, New York, and now in San Francisco.

Through his work, Cunningham tries to find the relationship between the objects he recovers and their mysterious history. "I like to think that these are the remnants of a wipeout," says Cunningham. "This is a continuation of that surfing energy." Anything from lost watches to hotel keys swept away at sea, Cunningham assembles them into an art piece after the ocean works on it first. "I haven't added any paint to them, I haven't added any glitter to them," he says. "Mother Nature bounced them all over a coral reef and dinged them up. I just retrieve them, rinse them off, dry them out, and assemble them."


Steinberg's work follows a similar theme. His installation, Tree of Life, is a mixed media piece. Next to a series of photographs of abandoned fins sits a tree sculpture made entirely out of swim fins. "The fins have been worn, used, abused, loved, lost, found," says Steinberg. "I took portraits of the individual fins, hoping that each fin would not just be a beautiful object of industrial design, but also an object with a story."

According to Cunningham, their art is "like bringing the beach home with you." To see Steinberg and Cunningham's pieces of the beach, visit Shorepound Lost and Found at the Great Highway Gallery in San Francisco before August 29.

Steinberg's installation, Tree of Life, constructed with the bodysurfing fins he's amassed over the years. Photos courtesy of Great Highway Gallery
Steinberg’s installation, Tree of Life, constructed with the bodysurfing fins he’s amassed over the years. Photo: courtesy of Great Highway Gallery
Photo: courtesy of Great Highway Gallery
Photo: courtesy of Great Highway Gallery
Photo: courtesy of Great Highway Gallery
Photo: courtesy of Great Highway Gallery
 Photo: courtesy of Great Highway Gallery
Photo: courtesy of Great Highway Gallery
Photo: courtesy of Great Highway Gallery
Photo: courtesy of Great Highway Gallery
Photo: courtesy of Great Highway Gallery
Photo: courtesy of Great Highway Gallery