Johny Vieira is a surfer and artist, who finds inspiration in nature and perfect waves. He is based in Praia de Santa Cruz, Portugal. We caught up with Johny to discuss surfing, the artistic life, inspiration and creativity.
Hey Johny! How’s your day going?
Hello! My day has´been great! Woke up early to catch some good waves at the nearby beach, now took a coffee and here I am answering you.
Had any good waves lately?
Oh yes, September started at its best this year! Missed so much these glassy days of good swell.
Tell us about a little bit about your path to artistry?
Well, it is a short path, to be honest. I have always been fascinated by creative works, of all kinds, but never did anything related to art and crafts myself, save for scribbling on the margins of school books. Then, one day, the idea of making a wave curling out of a frame emerged, and I had to find a way to incarnate it, from scratch. The process flowed naturally, though. It came as a relief from an obsession with waves, voyaging across my mind.
Since then, I have been experimenting, learning by myself and also with the help of good and inspiring people who surround me. As for art, I’m still trying to understand what it is. I started to attend drawing and painting classes one year ago, with a great teacher, and I must say, I feel like my art path is just starting!
Where do you get your inspiration and how do you stay motivated?
Waves. Surfing definitely pleases my eyes, and it also charges me with energy. Even if after a long surf session the body is dead, I always feel a strong impulse to create. I get reconnected, I get inspired.
I also draw tons of inspiration from other people, the way they create, think, persevere with their dreams and turn them into reality.
What are the perfect conditions for creativity?
I think when you feel good, when you are in a peaceful state of mind, when you allow your brain to wander. Personally, I can best reach this state when surrounded by nature. That’s where I find the perfect conditions for creativity.
Let’s talk about surfing – where are your favorite spots and what is your favorite craft?
This question is like asking an old lady about her age. I’m really attached to the inconsistent waves of my dear Santa Cruz in Portugal. It is not every day that they are good, but when the ocean is pumping like today, it is just fabulous! I love one spot in the middle of the Atlantic, but I can’t say its name. Also in the west of the Philippines. Long lefts are my doom.
About boards, right now, my quiver is one 6’0 classic model from Hugo Cartaxanas (SPO), and as for longboards, I always borrow a 9’0 noseride from my friend Daniel when I join him for a smooth session. Overall, I like trying all kind of boards, they all have their way to be ridden. And I believe this diversity helps to know more about surfboards and surfing.
Who are your favourite artists both in the surfing world and beyond?
I love the paintings of Andoni Galdeano and Jean Marie Jim Drouet. They have skillfully mastered the way to convey the surf and beach vibes through their art! I also admire the almost unearthly world Wolfgang Bloch created in his paintings, the places bordering on reality and dream. Right now he is my main inspiration in learning how to paint.
Who else… The imagination of René Magritte, Banksy, and Mehmet Ali Uysal, the cause and the strong message behind the installations of Ai Weiwei, and so, so many others whose works stir my imagination and motivate me to shape my own style, to search for my own voice.
If money was no object how would you spend your dream week? One week with no limits…
Taking my family, my love, my friends, and setting off for some remote island with waves just for us and unlimited fresh fruit prepared. A groovy band playing at the end of the day, and I guess that will be a dream week.
Do you have a mantra or words of wisdom to live by?
If we sleep 8 hours, then spend up to 10 hours at work, then eat, clean ourselves and our space, perform few not so exciting tasks – we at best get left with 3-4 hours daily to devote to what we love. One-sixth of the day… to love, to surf, to create, to skate, to read a book. One-sixth of the day, one-sixth of the life isn’t it…too little?
1. Keep the life simple.
When I mean simple, it’s not about doing nothing, or not having projects, or adventures, it’s about thinking what really makes you feel good and then fighting to have more free time to do it, and to be with who you love.
It surely doesn´t come in a split second, but with persistence, patience and hard work, that feeling of freedom you get is beyond words.
2. As a Russian friend says “ Don’t Drrramatize!”
Because in the end, we all are going to die. So realize the real size of your problems, don’t get so angry with others, try to forgive, and give more love. The world needs love!
Thanks, Johny, how can people connect with you to find out more?
Also if you pass by Praia de Santa Cruz in Portugal, be welcome to pass by to see them live!
Thank you Surfd for the opportunity and time to feature me on your page, wish you the best.