As part of our Artist Series we recently caught up with Colleen Wilcox, one of our favourite surf artists.
Interview by Bradley Hook
BH: Hey Colleen, how and where are you?
CW: Hi Bradley, I am great! I am in Honolulu on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.
BH: Have you had any good waves lately? Where and what were you riding?
CW: It’s pretty small on this side of the island in the winter time…but I enjoy taking out my favorite 9’6″ longboard. It’s great for small waves with its size and heavy glass, but it still turns really nicely.
Art and Inspiration
BH: We’re loving your art! Tell us about the journey to becoming a surf artist. What got you started? Any key influences?
CW: Thank you! I have created art my entire life, but just in the past 4 years or so I decided to pursue it as a career. I realized I didn’t want to work a traditional job and I wanted to do something that offered flexibility and most importantly felt inspiring and meaningful to me. When I came back to Hawaii (to be near my family) that’s when my inspiration really kicked in and I started to develop my own unique style. I didn’t really know what a “surf artist” was…but people started labeling me as one after I did the Women’s Triple Crown of Surfing poster in 2010. I am so thankful for that opportunity because it opened up doors to many more things.
BH: Where do you get your inspiration and how do you stay motivated?
CW: I would say that earning a living and the desire for a flexible lifestyle keeps me motivated (through the business side of things and stuff I don’t want to do). But . I am obsessed with the ocean, the natural landscapes, and just in general how Hawaii makes you feel in any given moment. It’s this feeling that I want to ‘bottle up’ and share with others so they can get a piece of it too (wherever they live).
BH: There’s a definite vitality in your images. How do you see the world and at what point does it take on your distinctive style? Can you describe your creative process?
CW: I have my ups and downs so how I see the world depends on what lens I am looking through. I strive to have a positive outlook and I find that spending time in nature just fills me with a sense of well being. It’s easy to feel love and appreciation while looking at the beauty of Hawaii, so that is the mindset from which I try to create my artwork. I use specific references from nature and then try to paint from my imagination so I can express my unique interpretation.
Travel and the year ahead
BH: Living in Hawaii is the dream for many. Do you travel much? Any favourite places?
CW: I traveled a bit when I was younger but not as much in the past few years while getting my business going. There are A LOT of places I want to go. Australia, Japan, and the South Pacific are definitely on the list!