Drawing Boards Words:Hugo Tagholm Photography:Alex Sudea
Art and surfing, music and surfing, innovative design and surfing – in the history of our sport, land-based creative expressions have been a constant bed-fellow of our own aquatic addiction. Despite the enormous growth in the popularity of the sport, not to mention the popularity of surfing’s image worldwide, there remains a creative mystique that goes with the art of riding waves – one that’s hard to define and never seems to wane. This is probably part of the reason environmental organisations like Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) and the Surfrider Foundation are able to secure the support of some of the world’s best known, yet elusive artists and musicians to promote their campaigns. This year, the UK environmental campaign group SAS has worked with an illustrious cast of world-famous, well-established and up-and-coming artists for a key campaign fundraiser: Drawing Boards – Cutting Edge Surfboard Art for Surfers Against Sewage. Fourteen artists from assorted fields have designed unique works of art – on some of the most environmentally friendly surfboards currently available – in aid of SAS’ clean water initiatives. So, wherever you are, if you’re interested in the latest ‘urban art’, a graphic design junkie, a Beatles fan looking for an original, signed Sir Paul McCartney board, a collector the original Young British Artists’ work, or owner of a quiver of collectible boards, you should check out this incredible surfboard auction.
The artwork applied to these boards – mostly direct onto the shaped foam, though in some cases applied like a decal under the glass – offers a fascinating insight into how our passion presses the buttons of bigshots in these fields. Some of this artwork is beautiful, some is shocking, some hilarious – but all of it is original and reflects something of where the contemporary art is at this moment in time, and how surfing somehow slots into that. The last few years have seen the rapid expansion of the urban art scene and this collection includes examples from some of the very best of today’s ‘street or graffiti-based artists, from Beejoir to Nick Walker. Perhaps more than any of the other contributors to this money-raising quiver, the support of urban artists can be explained by the enduring synergy between art and board sports, whether skateboarding or surfing – the kindred spirits of riders and artists who feel they’re continually pushing against the system, finding their own vent to release the pressures of the mundane reality of modern life. Contributors Tracey Emin and Gavin Turk are some of the best known artists to emerge from the UK in recent years. Their works have been collected by leading international galleries for well over a decade and command some of the highest prices in the contemporary art field worldwide. As with all the surfboards, their pieces are original and unique, and should whet the appetites of collectors and art aficionados everywhere. These unique artworks will be auctioned as part of Bonhams of London world-renowned Vision 21 event on 22nd October 2008. The Vision 21 Day will be held at Bonhams’ Knightsbridge salerooms in central-London and consist of a select collection of contemporary art and design, including SAS’s 14 eco-surfboard artworks. Partnering with such a prestigious auction house will help raise the level of interest in the boards themselves but, more importantly, the award-winning campaigns SAS undertakes.
Drawing Boards uses the latest in eco-surfboard technology in an attempt to highlight sustainable materials and hopefully influence surfers around the world into making greener choices when it comes to surfing equipment. Remember, these days you can not only buy greener boards, but also eco-wetsuits, recycled leashes, organic surf wax and much more. Consumption of unsustainable, un-recyclable products is a dead end that often stops in the ocean. Millions of tonnes of plastics and other waste materials make their way into our seas each year and SAS is campaigning hard to make sure that the companies responsible for this marine litter take additional steps to ensure this damaging pollution of our oceans is a dying trend.
SAS Drawing Boards Artist Bios:
Beejoir Beejoir is the most celebrated street artists to come out of the London Urban art scene. His work often focuses on world events, history, philosophy and politics and this trademark social commentary has been applied to walls all over the world. Beejoir regularly uses montage, juxtaposing two very different images to question the world around us, including subjects like the motivation for war and society’s rampant consumerism. www.beejoir.co.uk
David Carson Newsweek said of Carson: “He changed the public face of graphic design”, London-based Creative Review dubbed Carson “Art Director of the Era.” Carson has designed for The Surfer’s Path, Transworld Skateboarding, Transworld Snowboarding, Surfer, Beach Culture, and Ray Gun magazines. His work on Beach Culture magazine won “Best Overall Design” and “Cover of the Year” from the Society of Publication Designers in New York. Carson lectures extensively throughout the world, and in the past few years, he has branched out into film and television, directing commercials and videos. www.davidcarsondesign.com
Eine Eine is a prolific street artist based in London, UK and is famous for his alphabet lettering on shop shutters in London's East End. Eine's work has been shown at various art fairs including the 20/21 British Art Fair and the London Art Fair. He was featured in an article in Time Out as one of the six best new street artists working in the capital. www.einesigns.co.uk
Tracey Emin Tracey Emin is one of the UK’s most celebrated and notorious artists to emerge from the so-called “Young British Artists” scene. Renowned for her readiness to share details of her personal life in her work, Emin’s perhaps most controversial and well-know piece, My Bed, was shown at the Turner Prize exhibition in 1999.
In 1990 artist Pure Evil left the Poll Tax Riots of London behind and went to live in California where he spent 10 years ingesting weapons-grade psychedelics, thinking about stuff, making electronic music and printing t-shirts. Inspired by skate culture and the west-coast character graffiti of Twist, he returned to London and inexplicably picked up a spray can and started painting weird, fanged vampire bunnies everywhere. www.pureevilclothing.com
Kurt Jackson Kurt Jackson is one of the leading British artists. His work embraces an extensive range of materials and techniques including mixed media, large canvases, and relief work. Jackson's paintings are fluent, dynamic and exciting, resulting from a working method that is both challenging and intense. He is undoubtedly most famous for his plein air paintings of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. However his painting continues to take him further afield. He has worked with a number of charities, raising money and awareness about their work, including: Survival International, Greenpeace, Oxfam, VSO, Water Aid, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and the Woodland Trust. www.kurtjackson.co.uk
Annie Kevans “My work reflects my interests in power, manipulation and the role of the individual in inherited belief systems. I hope that my images will raise questions about how and why a person, or group of persons, behaves in a certain way. As Foucault explained, a person’s identity is not preset – rather, it is determined by the interactions of a person with another and is, therefore, a shifting temporary construction. My work looks at ideas of personal responsibility within structures determined by time and place and the role of those who create those structures.” Annie Kevans www.anniekevans.com
Mau Mau Mau Mau has spray painted his way around the world, his artwork appearing on everything from shipwrecks to surfboards to billboards to city walls. Part of the Souled Out Studios collective, his art meshes social and environmental commentary – bitterly topical with a tongue-in-cheek sweetener. Before making the transition to canvas Mau Mau gained a cult following through designs for Greenpeace, Surfers Against Sewage and clothing labels Sewerside and THTC. Roots planted in the surf and country vibes of the North Devon coast, Mau Mau has caught his fair share of dirty waves over the years… www.mau-mau.co.uk
Sir Paul McCartney Member of The Beatles, international superstar … need we say any more. www.paulmccartney.com
Polly Morgan Polly Morgan is British and lives and works in London. She was born in 1980 and began working as an artist in October 2005. A love of animals and a desire to preserve them led her to learn taxidermy, under the tutelage of taxidermist George Jamieson. Since then she has gravitated towards making still lives with animals as subjects. Her intention has never been to mimic the natural habitats of animals, as they are traditionally displayed, but to place them in less expected scenery. The scale and settings are often unnatural, but the animals are never anthropomorphised. Seeing them out of place encourages us to look at them as if for the first time: a rat sheds its association with horror and disease and can be rightly viewed as a beautiful animal. All taxidermied animals used by Polly Morgan are either road casualties or have been donated to the artist by pet owners and vets after natural or unpreventable deaths. www.pollymorgan.co.uk
Conrad Shawcross Often using subjects which lie on the border of science and philosophy, Conrad Shawcross's structural and often mechanical sculptures question empirical, ontological and philosophical systems ubiquitious within our lives. While at first appearing rational and functional, his often complex mechanized systems in the end deny all rational function and so the viewer is forced down philosophical and metaphysical avenues to deduce a raison d'etre. From early works such as The Nervous System, 2002 – a monumental spinning machine that endlessly weaves a length of coloured rope into the form of a double helix, the shape of DNA – to his recent giant spiral work Continuum, 2004, the artist has attempted to visualise, among other things, the incomprehensible of human concerns, time. www.victoria-miro.com
Gavin Turk Gavin Turk came to prominence in the 1990s as one of Britain's infamous "Young British Artists" and was included in 1997’s hugely popular Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy alongside Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and the Chapman brothers. Much of his work focuses on the cult of personality and the construction of artistic myth. www.whitecube.com/artists/turk/
Nick Walker In 1992 Nick Walker began to combine stencils with his freehand work which allowed him to contrast almost photographic imagery with the rawness which evolved from conventional graffiti styles. Stencils introduce an impact element to his work. The appeal of stencils is that they allow him to take an image from anywhere – dissect any part of life – and recreate it on any surface. Nick adds an element of humour or irony to some paintings to add a little light relief to the walls. web.mac.com/nickwalkerz
Jonathan Yeo One of Britain’s best portrait painters Yeo is, extraordinarily, almost entirely self-taught. A period of serious illness whilst he was studying for a degree in literature and film encouraged him to follow his natural love of painting. He taught himself the old-fashioned way by studying and imitating the styles and methods of any artist that interested him. In this way he progressed through the 20th century, rendering everything from still lives, landscapes and nudes in a variety of styles, from cubist to surrealist. Living beside the Tate Britain gallery in London helped, and Yeo would often start his days looking at works that grabbed his attention. www.jonathanyeo.com
To see the full auction catalogue and for further information on the artists please visit: www.sasdrawingboards.co.uk
A special thanks to Global Ocean, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of marine life that share much common ground with SAS campaigns. Global Ocean aims to raise awareness of marine conservation and help protect endangered marine species.