When did you first start surfing?
When I was around 17 I started surfing. Pretty much as soon as I got my drivers license and had the freedom to get to the beach whenever I wanted to, which was almost daily.
What is it that you love about surfing and the ocean?
Since I was a child I’ve been very fascinated with the ocean and the mysteriousness of it. The forms of the waves and constantly changing coastline is mesmerizing to ponder and witness. It’s such a fast paced environmental evolution compared to rock forms that take thousands of years to make the slightest change.
As for surfing, I have skateboarded almost as long as I could walk, so sliding around sideways on boards is second nature to me. When surfing and snowboarding became options for me, it was a natural progression.
Do you have a session that stands out as your most memorable?
I don’t know if I have one particular session that stands out. I guess the first two that popped in my head was surfing waves off of Diamond Head and the South Shore of Oahu with some friends. We surfed overhead sets until past sunset and it was my first real reef surfing experience and the long paddle back at night and take offs in a strange new tropical spot really stand out especially considering there were Tiger sharks just below us.
The other session that stands out is a particular session with my friends in Bradley Beach, NJ a couple years ago. It was one of the sessions that inspired my painting “Pot of Gold”. It was a pretty heavy day and we surfed a sunset session and the lighting was just incredible. We were taking off at the rocks and it was bowling up so perfectly. It was one of those sessions that just gets immortalized in your memory.
What kind of education have you had?
I think education should never be defined as beginning and ending. But I assume from the question that you’re referring to a formal education. In that case, I have a Bachelors degree with a major in Art.
My concentration was in illustration with an undeclared concentration in Photography and graphics. That said, that I learned and continue to learn more after college and I think that formalized education is largely over-rated.
How did you first get into art and when did you realise that you wanted to pursue it as a career?
I’ve always been interested in art, since childhood. I have a career report that I wrote in grammar school describing my plan to be an entrepreneurial professional artist. I sold marker drawn tattoos in kindergarten, I sold drawings on the corner of my street when I was in grammar school. I painted jean jackets and got a paid illustration gig in high school and got a job doing caricatures at Six Flags Amusement Park in my Senior Year. The list goes on and on but long story short is that it’s all I ever wanted to do and am very blessed to have parents who always supported my career desires and empowered me to be able to do it. My Dad is a salesman and taught me about marketing and business at a very young age which are skills that most artists don’t care for or seek to work on.
How did you find your niche within the surf art genre?
I still don’t consider it a niche because that sounds so contrived to me. I like to paint subject matter that interests me and I’m not stuck to any one activity as my niche per se. But it happens to be that I love to surf and hence I paint it. It’s not more complicated than that. I didn’t even know there was a genre called surf art when I started painting surfing.
Who/ what kind of things influence the work you do?
I’ve been and continue to be influenced by all artists I have ever seen and all experiences I have. Artist specifically speaking, I am incredibly inspired by artists such a Dali, MC Escher, Monet, Van Gogh, Ingres, Klimt, De Limpicka, De La Tour and Ernie Barnes.
Do you have a favourite piece/ pieces that you have created?
Each piece has certain aspects that are my favorite. Each new painting presents a new challenge for me and I take a different approach each time to evolve and explore my style.
You have done a lot of work with numerous charities, what have been some of your most memorable experiences in relation to your philanthropic efforts?
I do indeed love doing philanthropic work. It’s an important role I cherish. I suppose the one that I put the most effort and passion behind is the t-shirt and hoodies I released to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims. I donated 100% of profits to Rebuild Recover, an organization run by friends of mine which helped local families with their losses from the storm. I had friends of my home state of New Jersey lose their homes and most of what they own. I was living in Florida during the storm and felt so horrible being away from everyone when this idea came to me. We were able to donate over $15,000 from my efforts and we had a lot of support. It was overwhelming and really was fulfilling.
What is it that you love about your job?
I love art. It’s my therapy and it speaks through me. I love having an opportunity to create art and share it with so many great people around the world. I love having people connect and identify with my art and the meanings they associate with my work. I also love the freedom and lifestyle that it’s allowed for my family and I. Now that I’m a Dad, I cherish the flexible schedule and opportunities and people that we surround ourselves with. I hope that the inspiration empowers her to do whatever she wants.
Do you have some advice for any aspiring artists out there?
Be unique. Allow your voice to come through you not from you. Don’t try to emulate another artist’s style. Your style will come to you when you’re ready. Until then just create for the sake of seeing what comes out.
If you’re seeking to be a professional artist, you need to learn about business and love it. If you don’t, you need to partner with someone who knows and loves business. You can not thrive as an artist without you or someone on your team loving the business aspects of this chosen career path.
If you don’t allow your left and right sides of your brain to express and contribute, you will not succeed.
Where can we find you online?