Progressive Visual Artist: Jay Alders
The dream of many artists is to make a living traveling to have their work on display for the world. Jason Alders lives his passion and dream of professional art, while doing it with a fervent dedication to his community and planet.
From his stylish renditions of coastal scenery, to his stunning and imaginative portraits, Alder’s respect and admiration for the ocean and the sun is ostensibly vivid.
“Since I was a toddler I’ve expressed interest in art and drawing, painting.” Jay grew up near the beaches of the Jersey shore with a special bond to his family who encouraged his new love. As a child, he garnered inspiration from his parents and Bruce Lee. He recalls growing up with his brother, fantasizing about being ninjas! “He’s one of my best friends still, always has been” Alders says of his brother. “I laugh the hardest when we’re around each other, we compliment each others’ personalities so well and have always been close.”
Alders’ work has been displayed in galleries in the U.S. from coast to coast. He has toured Brazil, performed at surf exhibitions on the North Shore of Oahu, was featured at the 2008 X-Games, and his art has graced the pages ofSurfer Magazine, FuelTV, FHM Magazine & Penthouse Magazine, among many others.
Although art is his first love, Alders began surfing at 17-years-old when he obtained his driver license & earned his freedom on four wheels. The new found connection with the ocean can explain the look and profound sense of majesty in his artwork.
“I started to grow up in college and find myself,” Jay shares. His passion led to a fulfilling education by receiving a bachelor of arts in Art from Montclair State University. Although all of his best memories “are a little blurry,” Jay helped found a fraternity that taught him valuable leadership and social skills.
“I started to discover sides of me that I didn’t feel comfortable expressing, before being away at school” as he reminisced about playing guitar in the park, “altered-state-experimentation” so popular amongst adolescent youth, and experiencing the urban lifestyle by being so close to New York City.
Jay’s love for the surf/skate culture and art has brought him into close connections with his fellow artists, surfers and singer-songwriters. He has toured and shared the stage with Donavon Frankenreiter, G. Love and Special Sauce, Mishka, Matt Costa, The Movement, Rob Machado, and John Butler Trio, among others.
The difference between working on his own and in front of any audience is apparent in the process and outcome of his art pieces. “When I’m painting in the studio, I don’t allow time to be a factor” explained Jay, “I just paint and paint and paint until my vision is as developed as it needs to be. When doing live painting, there’s a beginning and an end and I try to keep it loose and fun as well as entertaining. The piece has to unravel in a way to get the audience involved and keep the vibe with the music.”
Touring allows him to join backstage antics with his fellow like-minded artists. Being in Brazil with Matt Costa, ALO, G. Love and Donavon Frankenreiter stands out as one of his more notable tour memories. “I was rooming with my good mate, Sean Davey, the uber-talented surf-photographer and the posse we were rolling with was just magical.” He explained the hospitality given to them by the Brazilian people while making lifetime friendships, allowing the flow of creative energy with fellow artists. Roaming the world to connect his art with fans is near the top of Jay’s list when it comes to touring.
When asked if Donovan Frankenreiter is as chill as he seems, Jay responded, “I owe a great deal to Donavon. He’s been incredibly supportive of me and my artwork and my family since we met in 2007. He’s the kind of guy that just takes you in and makes you feel comfortable. He’s the same funny dude in ‘real life’ as he is on the interviews and TV shows you’ve seen him on. He has an out of the box creative way of thinking, so collaborating with him has always been super enjoyable.”
Jay Alders has a particular connection with musicians who look for a unique look to their cover art, that fits perfectly with the music. He was commissioned to design the cover artwork for Mishka’s Ocean is My Potion album and Echo Movement’s In The Ocean, as well as Echo Movement’s Love and the Human Outreach.
Helping others is a major focus of Alders’ energy and this love for humanity extends his reach beyond the brush and canvas. He donated a signed giclée print of “Left Behind the Wall” to the California SurfMuseum’s 6th Annual Gala Fundraiser for the 50th anniversary of the Windansea Surf Club. He has also donated his work to Pipeline for Cure for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and charities for autism awareness.
In November of 2012, Jay and his wife Chelsea, organized an event to gather donations for Hurricane Sandy relief. Not only did they collect toys and sanitary items for people who lost everything in the storm, but they also collected tools to assist the efforts of rescue workers. In addition, to organizing pick ups and donations, more notably, Jay designed a t-shirt & hoodie which he sold & donated 100% profits to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts of Rebuild Recover which amounted to over $15,000.
Alders has worked closely with the Surfers for Cetaceans and the Kokua Hawai’i Foundation, organized by singer-songwriterJack Johnson. Jay has just released four new iPhone cases made from post-consumer recycled plastics, based on his beautiful art and can be purchased on his website.
Be sure to check out Jay’s website and Facebook to find out more information about his tour schedule. You are guaranteed to find a piece that stands out and speaks to your soul, so take comfort in the fact that your purchase will help many other people in need.
Article by: Blake Taylor
Photos by: Jay Cagney (top) & Michael Herb (middle image)