Some Answers from Mike Losness
The images adorning the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing posters every year are iconic – they end up on kids’ walls, in surf shops, on torsos, and on pretty much every flat surface in Hawaii during the winter months. So it was kind of a big deal that the Triple Crown’s first jewel chose the work of a pro surfer to splash all over town. San Clemente’s Mike Losness explains how it happened.
SURFING: How’d your work end up plastered over most of Haleiwa, Mike?
MIKE LOSNESS: Well, around six months ago Reef asked if I would do some art for the contest poster [Reef Hawaiian Pro]. Then every year they take the art from the poster and put it onto the event site, the t-shirts, and everything else that goes along with the contest. So I did this painting of what I sorta think Haleiwa is, and they took that and made it into the poster, the t-shirt, and when you drive through town all the window displays in the shops are elements of the painting. At the event site, there’s this huge mural that’s two pieces out of the painting put onto both sides of the scaffolding. It looks really cool.
It’s legit artwork, not your normal pro surfer self-promotion scribble. When did you get started painting?
I was interested in art ever since I was a kid, but I really didn’t start to take it seriously until around four years ago. I don’t know what it was in my life but I started to get into it more. All my paintings are, like, fiberglass and resin. It’s like ding repair art – kind of hard to explain.
Any gallery shows or silent auctions yet?
I haven’t had my own solo show. That’s something I’m sort of working towards. I don’t really feel like I’m good enough. I think you have to hit a certain level with your art before you’re ready for something like that. But I’ve contributed work to a couple of smaller things that my sponsors have put on, and I’ve done a couple little things with other artists in San Clemente where I live, in cafes and things.
Is there a future for you in this? In being a professional painter?
It’s something that I do for fun, sort of as an outlet. I surf so much that sometimes I need other things to occupy my mind or else surfing might get stale. But at this point I still consider myself a surfer and not an artist. I’m a pro surfer, that’s what I want to do, but it’s crazy how the art thing has taken off. When Reef picked me up a year ago they said they’d want to utilize my art, maybe for posters and t-shirt designs and so on, and I was going, “Yeah, OK, but I’m just stoked to be sponsored to go surf.”
How’s the feedback been in general? It looks sick. Never would have guessed it was a surfer’s work.
I’ve had really good responses from everyone here in Hawaii, people coming up to me and saying, “Oh my God, we love the art, the poster is insane this year!” Like, Reef is selling out of the event t-shirts at the site, so are all the surf shops, so it’s been really cool to take that all in and know that people like it. It’s neat to see one of my paintings blow up that big – it’s sort of larger than life for me.
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