Wade Koniakowsky has spent his entire life involved with the ocean and art. He is thought by many to be on the cutting edge of the new-school of marine art. He lives and works on the Southern California Coast with his wife and daughters. What is your name and when did you start painting? My name is Wade Koniakowsky – My mother enrolled me in painting classes at the age of 6. Why did you start painting? I was obsessed with the act of creation. What are some of your favorite moments in your career? Since my career includes many years in advertising, I enjoyed recognition for good creative work through receiving awards and winning the ad account for a number of successful brands. In art, I have enjoyed work for some major brands in the surf industry as well as some noteworthy events in surfing. I’ve enjoyed having a gallery of my own with some with well-attended successful art shows. I’ve enjoyed doing commission pieces for some celebrities, things like that. What do you think is the future of your industry? The art world is being redefined everyday and that keeps things interesting- but art has staying power- the need for good art in our lives never seems to go away. If you could, what is one thing would you do differently? I wouldn’t have sold my advertising agency. At the time that I did, I thought fine art and commercial art were exclusive of one another. I no longer feel that way. What is the next big project you have planned? I’m currently working on a public art piece. Over the years how has your art progressed? I started painting in college, but put down the brush for 25 years to do advertising. I’ve been back into it for about 7 years now. I had to learn the medium again- the simple act of painting, materials, etc. (which I’m still learning). My early work was pretty graphic, more figurative, and inspired by poster design. I’m currently very involved in a new series of tonalist wave scenes in a more muted palette. Are there any other artists, individuals or organisations that inspire you, personally or professionally? Michael Cassidy has been a huge help. I’m inspired by Griffin, Auster – John Singer Sargent in the figurative realm. You’ve had your work featured in galleries, museums, magazines and websites all around the world, at what stage in your career did you start getting this kind of exposure? I received a lot of exposure for my work in advertising, so I was already a pretty aggressive self-promoter. I’m sure I’ve gotten more press than I deserve. How do you feel about the increasing popularity of surf art, with surf art now appearing in magazines, surf shops, surf contest campaigns etc…? There seems to be an interest in the genre. Could be the people that appreciate it most don’t even surf. Similarly, the best stuff will probably be done by people who don’t consider themselves a “surf artist”. Just creative people looking for beauty. Surfing has plenty of that. Your art is available to purchase on various websites, magazines and of course on your own website… How does it feel to know so many people enjoy your work? I feel I’m just scratching the surface, but of course I’m indebted all those who have simply appreciated or purchased my work.