Art is a funny thing, isn’t it? It can be anything one deems as art. It’s simply “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects.” Pretty vague, isn’t it? A banana duct taped to a wall, for example, is art. Joan Miro’s Pienture, which sold for an eye-watering $2.2 million, is art. Barnett Newman’s White Fire — $3.8 mil — is art. I’m sure someone out there looks at Le Chien or White Fire or a banana duct taped to a wall and genuinely appreciates them… but I don’t get it. Perhaps I’m a lowly, uneducated pleb, but I’m more partial to photos and paintings that give me something I can relate to on some level. Surf artists make art that I can relate to.
A long time ago, in a different life, I had a photograph hanging on the wall in front of my desk. It was a sunset shot of a longboarder at San Onofre, I think; the sky behind him a dusky orange turning to that ever-so-faint violet that signals the beginning of twilight. He was in silhouette, his arms held out at right angles from his body, his feet mid-cross step. Bryce Johnson is the name of the photographer — a supremely nice human being I met during a funny summer a million years ago at SURFER magazine (RIP) — and I spent many hours leaning back in a creaking, busted leather chair, staring at that photo and wishing I had more words to write down.