Kevin Short Interview

Grateful Dead Griffin John Berkey LA Times museum Ocean Inspired paint painter painting Rick Rick Griffin Surfer's Journal

1. What is your name & when did you start painting? My name is Kevin A Short and I started painting as a kid. I come from a creative family, so painting, drawing, and sculpting was just something we did at our house. 2. Why did you start painting? Growing up a California beach rat, I started seeing Rick Griffin’s art. I’d see his Grateful Dead art on album covers, and then his surf posters on telephone poles. I found myself saying, “I want to do that!” So like a lot of surf kids, I doodled and painted waves. Just in time for high school we picked up and moved to New Mexico. Painting became a way for me to daydream about the beach far away. The big turning point for me came when I saw a John Berkey painting on the cover of a book I was reading. I had an “AH HA” moment and realized I could do that for a living. 3. What are some of your favorite moments in your career? Becoming friends with Rick Griffin. Appearing on the cover of The Surfer’s Journal. I think because it was coming from my peers, it meant more to me than being on the front page of the LA Times. Winning Hilo Hattie’s international competition, the prize was a beautiful trip to the islands, and being treated very well. Having my surf heroes ask me for MY signature in their copy of my Trestles book. A very satisfying moment was when one of my best paintings was rejected by a panel of artists for a museum show, only to have 3 museum directors later track me down and call me to praise that same painting. 4. What do you think is the future of your industry? I think it is good. As culture gets more computerized and less personal, people want artwork that is original, that is one of a kind, that moves their spirits. 5. If you could, what is one thing would you do differently? Boy that is tough. I have been happy with my choices, even the ones that have turned out to be mistakes. Art is all about making mistakes, if you are not comfortable making mistakes and dealing with them, you are in for misery. I guess if I had to pick something I would do differently, I think I should have listened to my dad’s financial advice earlier. 6. What is some advice for young artists trying to have a career like yourself? Keep working hard. You will need to love it. The art business is somewhat weird. It changes a lot. You have to love your work enough to not give up during the tough transitions. Less that 3% of art students end up making a living as working artists. Oh yeah, if you do get into a gallery, don’t cheat them, and keep your word. That has helped me. 7. What is the next big project you have planned? I am working on a solo show for Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is gets interrupted by me arranging details for my annual show up in San Francisco. In addition, I am also trying to find time to get my second book going, so I have a lot on my plate right now.


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