Sometimes you don’t end up where you want to be, but you end up where you need to be. My name’s Fieldey and I’m an urban surf artist. Four years ago I was a disenchanted graphic designer working for a salary. I’d always fancied that I’d be an artist when I grew up, yet, like many others, I drifted into design as a way to make some cash out of a talent for drawing things. I had sporadically tried to make a go out of art over the years, but lacking direction, nothing really happened. I was totally stuck in a rut.
To curb the boredom and for something new to do when I moved to Perth, Western Australia, I took up surfing and it’s a massive cliché but… surfing honestly changed my life. I took my tumbles, took a board to the face, kooked out and nearly ran other surfers over. Six months into things, I did the “smart” thing and upgraded to a shorter board. I decided to paint it for a bit of fun and my brother, now a talented photographer, filmed the process and chucked it on YouTube — and “Fieldey” was born. Some things about that first board make me wince a little now and I never learnt to ride that board too well, but it was start of a great love affair with surfing and surfboard painting.
The magic combination of the novel shape, the restrictions of painting on a surfboard, plus my bad sense of humour gave me a focus for creating an outrageous collection of feral surfboard and skateboard art pieces. I like to take familiar things and add my own spin to them, if I can make people wince or laugh I’m happy. All the ladies in my work have a knowing look in their eyes and would beat you in an arm wrestle, all the digestive organs have eyes and there’s nearly always a very tongue-in-cheek skull lurking somewhere.
Three years into things now and the stoke could not be brighter. If you had of told me four years ago that I would be painting surfboards professionally, I wouldn’t have believed it. I’ve painted dozens of surfboards, bowling pins, a giant remote controlled jet boat, and created designs for Iron Fist Clothing and heaps of skate decks. I’m now learning the dark art of spray painting and getting into large scale murals. I’m preparing to head over to Sydney to run a series of Surfboard painting workshops at Bondi. Best of all I’m achieving my dream of being an artist and doing the things I love, and it’s a big adventure.