Art and adrenaline run thick in her veins. The talent with which she paints, and the passion for extreme sports are innate in Flor de Pamphilis. Both come exceptionally natural to her. Flor, also known as Pampi, is a young, talented artist from Argentina who is trail-blazing surf art in South America. Between painting for popular brands such as Vans and Red Bull, Pampi gave me the wonderful opportunity to gain a better understanding of her works of art, as well as the creative individual behind them.
Painting surfboards is a very peculiar kind of art. How did you start doing it?
The best part of the story is that it wasn’t planned. It just happened. Sounds like a cliché love story, but it’s true. I appreciated art all my life, but I never dreamed of making a living out of it. Back in 2012, I was invited to join a South American road trip, sponsored by Mini Cooper, together with two German guys and an Argentinian girl. In one of our many stops in Northern Brazil, I got to know a local shaper. Our Mini Cooper had a mechanical problem so we were stuck in that small town for more than a month. I saw that he had a couple of broken boards so I asked him if I could borrow one to paint. A friend of his, who was hanging out with us, heard me and offered his new board as a canvas. Without hesitating, I sketched a quick draft, borrowed some POSCA markers (which I instantly fell in love with), and started painting. The customizing started and never stopped. From there, friends gave me their motorbikes, cars, and boards for me to paint. I saw it as a new and relaxing therapy. A new part in my life had begun without me even realizing it.
Is there an artist or someone who inspired you to follow your passion?
People who made a living out of sports were usually the people I admired the most. I thought living as an artist was tough and I never pictured it for the lifestyle I was looking for. Iain MacArthur, an English artist, was a great inspiration. Also, Supakitch was a great inspiration. I am constantly looking for new ideas and references, which trigger my imagination and inspire my art.
Aside from other artists, where do you get your inspiration from?
I was born in Buenos Aires, a huge and crowded city. It took me a long time to adapt to its rhythm and lifestyle, but in the end, I learned to love it and found its magic. I’ve always been really connected with nature and lead a healthy, quiet life. Buenos Aires contrasted this. Whenever I could, I escaped to a natural place; a beach, a mountain, or whatever kept me far away from the city. So, I believe nature is where I get a great part of my inspiration. I usually use natural elements such as leaves and water and I connect them to inspirations from aboriginal designs of South American tribes, such as feathers and comparable patterns.
You practice these sports with passion. How does that influence your career as an artist?
I was able to find a deep connection with surfing without dedicating my life to the sport. I really enjoy using a surfboard as a canvas. And watching afterwards how my art is in contact with the incredible energy of the sea and the waves fulfills me. I found that the combination of board sports and art is what I want to do every day of my life. The fact that I am usually surrounded with people who practice these sports and have the same way of life, makes my profession my passion. I don’t enjoy painting on any particular surface, but I enjoy customizing objects that will move and interact with its rider. That’s when I feel the artistic cycle is complete.
You painted for brands like Red Bull, Posca, Vans and Corona. Would you like to paint for professional surfers and shapers?
Painting for popular brands is a great honor for me and I feel gratified every time it happens. I know I would like to keep growing and learning in that path, but I don’t have a particular longterm objective in my art career. I just know that I share the philosophy of the surf lifestyle and that traveling expands my creativity. Thus, I will keep doing it, as it is crucial for my inspiration. As everything flowed so spontaneously and nothing was planned, I prefer to keep it that way because I am still surprised on how my life is turning out. I really like the custom style, making unique versions that play with the rider’s personality, and combine them with what is aesthetically pleasing to me. I would like to make some designs for a big brand related to board sports, probably a season edition or something similar. It would be amazing to watch thousands of people riding a craft with my design on it. I’m really confident that life will keep on surprising me, and make things happen that I would never have imagined. That is why I prefer to live the moment and trust that if I do everything with passion and to the best of my ability, the outcome will be just fine.