Get to Know: Andy Davis, One of the Best and Most Beloved Surf Artists of Our Time
Images by: @theslipperysaltwaterchronicles
To be an artist as a profession in a capitalist world is a feat in it of itself. To be an artist and actually be able to LIVE off of that is a whole other triumph. Artist Andy Davis, however, has been able to do this in the niche surf art world and inspire many of us with his stoke on life along the way. As a pioneering artist, his work can be found in beloved films by Thomas Campbell and collaborations with everyone from Billabong to Roxy, the Surfrider Foundation, Captain Fin Co., Vans, and MANY more.
Based in a So-Cal with his wife and family, Andy continues to create visually stimulating and captivating artwork with the utmost passion and electric enthusiasm he has for wave riding and the world of surf culture.
With a very exciting line-up of exhibitions on the horizon, one of which will be at Walt Lindveld’s very own Montauk Beach House, entitled OHYA, we were able to sit down with Andy to uncover and tap into his creative mindset, including what music moves him and the ocean’s impact on his life and work.
Big thank you to our dear friend for Danny DiMauro for making this story possible and to Andy for all his inspiration and infectious love for life.
Check out the interview below and if you are in Montauk this July, do not miss his show at MBH!
The Tidalist: Can you tell us about yourself? Where did you grow up and how did you end up in becoming an artist?
Andy Davis: Helloha, my name is Andy Davis and I’m 49 . I grew up for the most part in north county San Diego. I currently live in Leucadia. I ended up choosing art for a way of life because it naturally was the most comfortable space for me to exist in. It made me feel safe in a world that I felt disconnected to on some many other levels. I have been making some form of art for as far back as I can remember.
TT: What does your typical day look like with family, friends, and work?
AD: A typical day for me is to wake up around 7 , help get my son off to school. Check the waves , hopefully surf then grab a coffee and head into my studio/ gallery called Way Way Out There in Solana Beach. It’s about a ten minute drive from my home. I usually check my e mails and peruse the rabbit hole dubbed Instagram for far too long. Then I get into whatever the current project that is the top priority on that given day. I’ll work on that for however long it takes , and most likely go back and forth between the next couple items on my list. Then I’ll head out and go burrito shopping or grab a green drink of sorts. I’m usually here into the early hours of the night unless I have a show coming up in which case I’ll work much later. There is always music blaring.
TT: If we shared your headphones - what are some artists, podcasts, or music in general that we could expect to hear?
AD: If I was to let you into what I was hearing lately, well let’s start with literally right now as I peck away on my handy hand held device . I am listening to Bags and Trane ( Milt Jackson and John Coltrane ). Hmm also Drugdealer has had a steady flow the last week or so. I’ve been digging the new King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard . A few different Zamrock Compilations, too many to go into. We’d be here for days.
TT: You are such an inspirational creative and influencer within the surf and art space, what is it about surfing and the ocean that enticed you to have focused so much on it as a subject?
AD: The ocean and surfing have been a huge source of inspiration to me for it feels like forever. It really makes me drift and daydream the anxieties of the vortex of madness around me and things seem less chaotic. It usually calms me and helps me breath and relax on a more comfortable frequency. ( usually ha )
TT: If you weren’t doing what you are doing now, what is another path or career you would take?
AD: I honestly have no idea what or how I could exist without making art. I have dedicated my entire mental and physical being into the journey of it and I don’t have any other skills unfortunately. So it’s that is where I shall continue to dwell.
TT: What would you say is something most people don’t know about you?
AD: Something that I would say people don’t know about me ( if they even happen to know who I am in the first place is that I am a trained cage fighter ! Ha just kidding). Um let’s see, ok that I am not a technically blessed human. I don’t know much about computers at all and I have never learned anything on them in terms of design. I have always worked with friends who are graphic designers. I was very intimidated by the technology. However I will sit for hours on end and art and creative direct any and all projects I work on. Seriously I have been doing this for about the last 20 years. Crazy !!
TT: Congrats on your upcoming show at the MBH! Can you tell us more about it and what will you be focusing on at the exhibit?
AD: OHYA is the title for my upcoming show at The Montauk Beach House. The reason I chose that title was it made me think of good energy! It is an enthusiastic statement that is uplifting and positive. So I’m sticking too it . The creations for the show are original paintings on canvas and a few On aluminum. They are all done with acrylics. The body of work is full of color and movement. I want the viewer to be drawn into the space and imagine their own narrative and day dream to their own rhythm. To lock into a hypnotic type frequency that lets them float and drift along their journey.
TT: In addition to the show at MBH, is there anything really exciting you are looking forward to this summer or on the horizon?
AD: Shortly after the magical Montauk experience I will be preparing for another show in Indonesia in Bali at an amazing space called the Uluwatu Surf. Villas. I am honored to be collaborating with Rob Machado . The title is Suka Cita which translates to Joyous in Indonesian. The date for that is August 22. So yeah I’m pretty jazzed about that.
TT: If you could tell your 25 year old self something, anything - what would it be?
AD: If I could tell my 25 year old self something I would say take a deep breathe and don’t take life for granted. Be patient , be grateful and respectful to those around you. Smile , laugh and share. Be a giver not a taker. It feels so much better. Look and listen and learn. Try not to judge and to be more understanding. Let go of your ego. Something along those lines.
TT: Dreams for the future?
AD: Dreams for the future would be to keep dreaming ! Stay present and positive. Life is so fragile , hectic and oh so very humbling. Try and be ok with where I’m at and where I’m going. Mahalo !!!