Surf and art fans alike attended the Board Art Benefit in Solana Beach on Saturday, a benefit for SurfAid International. The event, held at the Aaron Chang Ocean Art Gallery, had 15 surfboards decorated by esteemed surf artists on display.
Thrusters, alaias, single fins, retro shapes and more made up the collection, each a collaboration between shaper and artist. Each board in the gallery was up for sale in this traveling auction and fundraiser for SurfAid. In addition, a blank longboard was transformed into a board art collective over the course of the evening, as each artist contributed with their own live, in-house painting.
The collection of talent in the gallery literally spilt out on to the sidewalks of Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach, with many of the contributing shapers and artists mixed in with the fans.
Mike Hynson was in attendance showing his hand-shaped Jimi Hendrix-inspired era piece, painted by artist Wade Koniakowsky. The board was the first of all the boards on auction to be purchased. John Birchim, a talented woodworker and shaper from Goleta, worked with artist Ron Croci to create a tribal themed alaia, one of the most unique of the sacred crafts adorning the walls of the gallery.
Artist Phil Roberts painted the likeness of Gerry Lopez on a signature Lightning Bolt Surfboard that Lopez shaped himself, dubbed "The Golden Gun." Lopez and Roberts have only ever collaborated on five boards—the other four are in the hands of the past four Pipe Masters. On sale for $12,000, there's a definite price to be paid in order to be in the same company as Kelly Slater, Taj Burrow, Jeremy Flores, and Kieren Perrow.
Photographer Aaron Chang played host for the night, and said the showcase exceeded all his expectations. "We had an incredible turnout, from all sides of the surf industry. From surfers to art lovers, board makers and artists. When you imagine an event like this, this is what you hope for."
One of the collaborations on display, titled "Convergence of Honesty" (pictured right), featured artwork by Damian Fulton on a board shaped by Tyler Hatzikian. According to Damian, the two worked together to create a statement on "freedom and war, love and hate, and everything in between." Damian went on to describe the inspiration for the piece:
"The board looks like a big silver spaceship. It has Abraham Lincoln on it, at first glance, but when you look closer it's made up of all sorts of iconic pop culture references.
"You look at the ocean from far back and there's a simplistic view of it. Everybody has this sort of Beach Boys idea about beach culture, but it's so much more complicated. The act of being a committed surfer is not just grabbing my board and going. It's complicated, there's so much more to it.
"For me, I don't come from the traditional, idealistic view of surfing. I live in Los Angeles, and El Porto is my stomping ground. My surf experience is not swaying hammocks and hula girls, mine is raving crowds and dealing with parking and the diversity of this collision between mankind and the coast.
"It's this strange kind of blending of humanity with God's creation, and somehow right on that thin line along the coast of Southern California, I don't see it the way a lot of other people see it. It's not as idealistic from my experience. You have to go past telephone poles, and smoke stacks, and you jostle with people in the lineup. I don't see any ukuleles anywhere.
"For me, going surfing means getting past a lot of the junk that bombards me day in and day out. I go in the water and I feel like I have a saltwater baptism. But it takes a lot to get there. It's just not as pristine and it's not as glamorized. It's getting to the water, and just having some quiet time before I go back to deal with the complexities and the real mess of this world. And that's what I'm trying to show in my paintings: that it isn't so simple."
See more at boardartbenefit.com