Nathan Gibbs Interview

Beach Rays Interview Nathan Gibbs Ocean Inspired painter painting southern california coast surf surfing

Artist Nathan Gibbs' work centers around, transcends and invokes a sense of wonder within a surf art, ocean-nurtured lifestyle. Through the exploration of surf art water landscapes, peoples faces and rural images. We  caught up with Nathan to chat more about what it is he does... What is your name and when did you start painting? My name is Nathan Paul Gibbs. I started painting around 1997. I had done art most of my life in some fashion. I would doodle, draw and occasionally do architectural renderings from a drafting class I took in middle school. I never really took it seriously until one day someone mentioned I should start painting. Why did you start painting? I grew bored of drawing and coloring with pencils and markers. I wanted to take my art to the next level and be more creative. I got some lessons from a friend Dennis McNulty (MFA in Painting) and got started. A friend asked me to take a photo from a trip we took and turn it into a painting. He paid me $150. I thought, Wow I can actually get paid for this? What are some of your favorite moments in your career? I would have to say I have a few. One would be as I just mentioned, when I sold my first painting. Another would be when I made my first $17,000 sale to one client. I was invited to show work in Brazil by Alma Surf. They flew a few of us down there with our art. We got to hang out with musicians, Garrett (G-Love), ALO, Donovan Frankenreiter, Matt Costa, other photographers, moviemakers and pro surfers. It was an amazing group of creative people and we were treated like royalty. Finally, I am proud of the more than $30,000 my art has raised for Surfrider, Surf Aid, and other charitable organizations. What do you think is the future of your industry? The future of the industry certainly depends on the economy. When people have expendable cash, they can buy luxury items like art. It also moves like the ocean. Rising and falling like the tide, techniques change, styles move, but ocean and environmental art overall is a rising tide. If you could, what is one thing would you do differently? Take a potion that would allow me to not sleep and do art all night long.

What is some advice for young artists trying to have a career like yourself? Have a side job. It is really difficult to pay the bills and raise a family on art sales. While not impossible, most need other income. There are artists, who can make a good living, but it is a small percentage. With a side job, new artists don't have to sacrifice creativity for sales. Many artists fall into a trap to where they need to change their styles in order to sell and to me that spells the end of the artist. What is the next big project you have planned? I currently have been painting hand carved Alai'a boards and Paipos made by Jon Wegener. They have been selling well and I plan to create a series based off of popular surf spots around the world. I have focused on California, Malibu, and Waikiki. Also I am going to be creating a seven-foot tall assemblage wave made from found and reclaimed wood. I hope to have it installed at San Onofre State Beach.


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