September 6-8, 2013
Orange County Convention Center
Surf Expo is thrilled to have renowned surf and surrealistic artist Jay Alders as our official show T-shirt designer and artist for September 2012.
Alder's original design, which comes in both men's and women's styles and sizes, is available for purchase at the badge-holder pickup kiosks on the mezzanine and also at the two Surf Expo information booths (on aisle 2500 near the front of the hall and on aisle 1100 near the SUP demo pool). The shirts cost $12 and come in Navy Heather.
We spoke to Alders about what influences his art and the process he went through when designing Surf Expo's show T-shirt. Here's what he had to say:
Surf Expo: On your web site you have an all-star list of master artists who influenced your work. The surrealism influence of Escher and Dali is easy to see, but I'm curious as to how surfing and surf culture influenced your style. What surf-specific art or influences where you drawn to growing up? Who did you admire today?
Jay Alders: Growing up near the beaches of New Jersey, I wasn't exposed to any well-known surf artists that I may have been if I was on the West Coast. I didn't even know there was such a genre as "surf art" until much later in my adult years.
I always have been more interested in art as a means to get lost in my mind, express myself and as a means of therapeutic exploration.
For me, the subject matter isn't as significant as the act of creating art itself, it just so happens that I adore surfing, nature, women, waves and paint what I love.
From a young age, my goal has always been to just do things differently and make up a style that's "me." I grew up skateboarding and then in my teen years got obsessed with surfing and snowboarding and painted and drew things without much influence or knowledge of what's been done already.
I was always and still am drawn towards fine artists in museums more than anything. I can spend days in a museum and have seen many of the world's best art collections. Flipping through surf and skate magazines and imagining being in those tropical places someday is what drove my fascination towards surf culture.
I painted my first surf painting when I was probably 16 or 17 but have been doodling halfpipes and skaters since I was a little tiny kid. The only famous surf artist whom I actually remember seeing and trying to copy at a young age was (my now friend) Rick Reitveld. I remember copying his famous muscular sharks in old Maui & Sons ads.
There seems to be a split happening in the surf market where some retailers are emphasizing the beauty / lifestyle / vibe of surfing over the technical, performance-oriented "sport" of the pro ranks. Have you seen an uptick in interest in your work as this new vibe/lifestyle emphasis takes hold?
Jay Alders: From a business side of things, I have definitely seen an increase in interest in my work through sales, opportunities and social networking.
However, I don't know how much of that is due to cultural interest growing in the beach lifestyle and how much is due to people connecting with my art for genuine reasons. I guess when it comes down to it, I don't care.
I do not like focusing on that because I don't want to drive my creative direction based on how marketable it is. I studied illustration and commercial art in college amongst other things. Therefore, I do find fulfillment in doing some selected commissioned and freelance work at times. I spent many years doing art for other people but now it's my time to do what moves me.
I try and focus very consciously on creating art that I love and being inspired. I feel that everything else will just happen organically when people get to know me and my work and see that I am not afraid to do things outside of my typical style or subject matter.
I feel very fortunate now for having a loyal and growing following of people whom are into my art more so than just the subject matter. I enjoy promoting my art in a smart way but the integrity of the art takes priority to the marketability of it.
How did you approach the design for the Surf expo T-shirt? What types of imagery and ideas came to mind when first approaching artwork for the show? How did you hit upon the final design and maybe explain what it means to you.
Jay Alders: First, let me say how honored I feel to have been chosen to do this T-shirt design. It's been both exciting and intimidating to be involved on this project knowing that a lot of influential folks in our industries would be seeing this and hopefully wearing it soon.
I wanted to do something that would be first and foremost fashionable to both men and women. What good is a shirt if no one wants to wear it? So I had to work within the limitations of the medium.
From there, I took into account the various sports involved in this growing industry and wanted to do something a bit more broad in appeal. I thought doing a wave would make sense and started coming up with ideas that would have a more simplified palette than some of my more highly rendered pieces.
I am fascinated by finding new ways to look at waves and water and felt that structuring the wave formation in this graphically bold manner would produce a shirt that appealed to broad range of demographics.
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