The Art Of Trash

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Who would have thought dumpster diving could get you so far? Case in point: One month's worth of prime exhibit space at the Laguna Art Museum. Serious industry backing from Billabong. An "Inside the Actor's Studio" style panel moderated by Steve Pezman. Two hundred guests. A book. The list goes on for Laguna Beach artist Wolfgang Bloch, whose love for surfing has driven him through the vein of our culture's most creative hosts — from Gotcha and Quiksilver — on his way to his true passion and his own, unique vision. Even Wolfgang would agree that this is all very far from his early days in the canyon, sawing wood and mixing colors, dreaming up revolutionary art straight out of the trash. But it doesn't mean he's staying out of the dumpster.

These days, Bloch's art is by no means unknown. It has been fairly mainstream for a couple of years now due in large part for it's departure from the typical "surf art" that has dominated our world since our early days lost in the cheery clutches of Beach Boys-esque blue tubes, babes and palm trees. After a stint as Art Director at Gotcha and a freelance t-shirt designer for the other major surf brands of the '{{{90}}}'s, Bloch turned to scouring Laguna Beach dumpsters and trash piles for scrap wood and metal for work, melding handsaws and paintbrushes into single precise artistic utensils. In these mediums, he found inspiration in negative space and moody pastels. He found simplicity in the act of surfing and — probably unknowingly — sparked a style movement for many artists that will follow him from now forward. He narrowed our passion down to one, sometimes two, waves breaking on an inaudible horizon — painfully simple art that would appease Dora before Brophy.

And after months of preparation for Saturday night's showing, all of Wolfgang's unique mediums — from plywood to steel to tile to record covers — were available for the public eye, along with the release of his book Wolfgang Bloch: The Colors of Coincidence written by Mike Stice and designed by legendary graphic designer David Carson. Early in the evening Surfer's Journal publisher Steve Pezman moderated a discussing between Bloch, Stice and Carson as well as the audience, making for a candid look into the artist's life, his work and the avenues that got him this far. From there things got predictably artsy, what with drinks and music and beautiful women and light buzzes. A success, no doubt, that has merely launched Bloch out of the confines of surf art and into the big-time. But, of course, never quite out of the dumpster.

For a full tour, visit Wolfgang Bloch's website: