Updated: Dec 17, 2018
Despite its overuse, I feel that Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa remains as one of the truly incredible images to grace humanity, and is a continuing inspiration to me as an artist, surfer, and lover of the ocean.
Part of my inspiration in creating these images was to attempt to convey the power and grace of waves as Hokusai did. Considering the number of surfers and lovers of the ocean, I am sometimes surprised at the lack of good wave art. Also, surf art tends toward turquoise tubes and pink sunsets, which is one beautiful face of the ocean...
...but there is also the dark, moody side which deserves to be seen and learned from: the mysterious energy of the ocean that comes to us at night like a living being, the element of water, the astral plane, la luna and the stirrings of our emotional being, the unstoppable tide of the feminine way.
So I started sketching, from my head, from my dreams, and from the folds in my pillow case when I awoke in the morning. Though it was entirely unintentional at first, image #1 seems to have been influenced by the three most photographed waves of our day, Pipeline, Teahupoʻo, and Nazaré. So I played that up a bit into this 3 bears-esque family portrait of these most awe-inspiring waves. At first it was just a sketch, and I wasn't sure how to best stylize and translate it into a print medium.
I started cutting it into a scrap of linoleum I had without much idea of how it would come out. The bold, graphic darks and lights created the mysterious dreamy atmosphere I was looking for and the elegant lines turned out to be perfect to conveys the power, movement, and grace of the ocean.
The linoleum cut medium really brought my vision to life in a way that far exceeded my original expectations. After this print, I was convinced that I needed to continue exploring this vision into a full series of images.
Stay tuned for upcoming images in this series...