Combining his love of surfing with his sculpting talents, Portugal-based artist Johny Surf Art crafts exquisite works of wave art. Each crystalline, cresting wave is framed by lumber found on the beach, conveying the artist’s crafty approach and emphasizing the works’ crystal clear connection to nature.
Johny Surf Art meticulously sculpts each wave from gypsum, the main ingredient found in plaster. He affixes each model to a piece of driftwood, taking advantage of the sticks’ one-of-a-kind contours, textures, and colors to emphasize the natural feel of his work. Once he has achieved his desired design, he paints the piece in mesmerizing jewel tones, which he mixes himself.
Much like the ocean waves that inspire him, no 2 pigments are alike. Many artists may perceive this unpredictability as an inconvenience. To Johny Surf Art, however, this exciting uncertainty is an intrinsic part of the process and practice. “Even after repeating the same process of mixing colors dozens of times, they always turn out different, just like the shape, just like the emotion behind each piece,” he states on Instagram. “There is always the intrigue about an outcome: ‘What will be born this time from under my hands while I follow the exact same steps?!'”
In addition to representing the diversity found in nature, each driftwood sculpture also communicates the artist’s outlook on his art. The handmade works of wave art serve as a tangible reminder that one should always pursue what excites them. And, in Johny Surf Art’s case, this includes both a love for the craft and an admiration for the ocean. “When I hold a wave,” he explains, “it reminds me that we can only be happy by doing what we love and that’s the only way.”