Jay recently discussed growing up in Howell, NJ with Greater Media Newspapers. He reflected on his ever-changing hometown, his early interests in the ocean, and his upcoming visit back home.
Surfer artist reflects on roots in Howell
Howell, which is known in part for its rural areas and farmland, seems like an unlikely place to produce renowned artist Jay Alders, whose work often focuses on surrealistically styled surfers and beach scenes.
In fact, during an interview with Greater Media Newspapers, Alders said that despite the fact that Howell is only a short drive from the Atlantic Ocean, it was not until his teen years that he became obsessed with the beach.
“Even though we were relatively close to the beach, we didn’t go too often, but when we did, it was a place I really loved and connected with,” Alders said, noting that his childhood love for skateboarding would later serve as the perfect transition to surfing.
However, the rural nature of the town — Route 9 was still only a two-lane highway when he grew up in the Glen Arden development in the 1980s — was nevertheless an appealing aspect of Howell, he said.
“It was a fun place to grow up with lots of woods to play in, which became our main hangout. There are so many memories of playing outside, skating friends’ half-pipes, doing freestyle on my BMX bike. I suppose all those experiences shaped me quite a bit,” he said, bemoaning what he believes has been the overdevelopment of his hometown in recent years.
“I remember driving down Route 9 with my family and seeing large stretches of woods where there are now [large retail stores],” Alders said. “Each time they would tear down woods, I can hear my dad’s voice screaming about builders destroying forests. That’s one of the issues my dad and I still agree on.”
Howell native Jay Alders paints himself completing one of his iconic works. Alders will be making an appearance at the Algonquin Theatre, Manasquan, on July 27 in conjunction with a performance by G. Love.As Alders grew older, his love for the beach became more apparent, and he found himself spending much of his free time in Manasquan. His love for art, which was initially a means to distract himself, started to fuse with his love for the beach.
“I would lock myself in my room and just draw and draw and draw and daydream of how things could be. It was my therapy before I knew I needed any,” he said. “I used to doodle skateboarders throughout my childhood. So it’s a pretty fluid transfer to surfing once I started spending so much time at the beach in my late teen years. I did my first big surf painting when I was about 16 or 17, but I never pursued it in any serious obsessive way like I do now.” Alders later enrolled at Montclair State University, where his artistic horizons were expanded.
“I got exposed to a lot of various styles in art history and became obsessed with trying new styles, pulling and stretching things in a surrealistic fashion. After around nine years living in northern New Jersey, I eventually landed myself in Belmar and was finally able to be at the beach every day,” he said, noting that oil painting is his favorite medium.
While surfing is one of his best-known subjects, Alders is also fond of depicting the beach, other natural scenes, women, romance and music.
“I paint what is on my mind and what moves me, things that inspire and intrigue me,” he said. “I’m sure that if I lived in Colorado or Europe, I would be painting something else. But it so happens that I’m a beach lover and surfer and can’t get enough of it.”
Because the subjects that make their way into Alders’ art are so fluid, he said there is much more to come with his work.
“I have so many interests I haven’t even had time to paint yet, but I will,” he said.
Alders, who now resides in Florida with his wife, Chelsea, enjoys keeping in touch with childhood friends through Facebook and visiting his home state often.
“No matter where I live, Jersey always has a place in my heart as my home,” he said, noting that he will have a special occasion to be at the
Theatre, Manasquan, on July 27.
“I’ll be slinging prints at the Algonquin at the G.
Love show and look forward to seeing everyone,” he said. “Garrett Dutton [G. Love] and I met in 2007 in Brazil. We were both on tour together for FestivAlma, an 11- day, three-city tour of music and art.
“The tour was spread out quite a bit, considering the small amount of shows, so there was a good amount of leisure time to hang in between stops,” he added. “Garrett is a super nice and down-to-earth guy. We’re the same age and both have roots in Jersey, so we hit it off real well and stayed in touch.”
G. Love has been the front man of the alternative hip-hop blues group G. Love and Special Sauce since he founded the group in 1993.
He will be performing an acoustic solo show at the Algonquin Arts Theatre, 173 Main St., Manasquan, at 8 p.m. July 27.
Quincy Mumford will open the show. Mumford, a singer-songwriter who has gained popularity in the Asbury Park music scene, creates upbeat music that seamlessly combines elements of pop, funk, reggae and surf grooves.
Seats for the show are $30 and can be purchased at www.algonquinarts.org.
For more information about Alders and his work, visit www.jayalders.com.
Check out the full article here.