As one of Pipeline’s elite specialists, Danny Fuller has made a name for himself by hurling his body over some of the winter season’s nastiest ledges. He also recently made headlines by putting his deviously good looks to use in an ad campaign for Chanel cologne. But the Kauai native doesn’t stop there. Don’t chalk him up as just a pretty face and a wildman of the waves. For the past 15 years, Fuller has been rounding out his widespread abilities with an artistic side in the form of a penchant for photography. And Danny’s latest show, Liquid Horizon, recently debuted at the downtown L.A. gallery Venus Over Los Angeles.
With lengthy exposures and moonlit landscapes, Fuller’s photos infuse the familiarity of real-life settings with the obscurity of a dream. The long exposure blurs the horizons while the moonlight adds an eerie glow. Most of the photos show a similar trope of Fuller’s work – a bluish blend of sky, sea and beach. As photographic interpretations, the pictures resemble the paintings of Mark Rothko, with his signature style of blurred color blocks. Rothko’s paintings, later dubbed “multiforms,” were a way for him to visually express his idea of spirituality. And in a similar way, Danny Fuller’s Liquid Horizon series translates abstract feelings through tangible sceneries.
Against pristine white gallery walls, the Liquid Horizon photos debuted in early August with an eclectic crowd in attendance. The expected surf industry types made it out while film and music stars showed up as well. Fuller’s fellow Pipe charger Reef McIntosh hung out with forever-stoked Dane Gudauskas and even Laird Hamilton made an appearance. And on the non-surfing side, Fuller was spotted schmoozing with Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis. Also lurking through the gallery was Jackass’s Johnny Knoxville, Juno’s Ellen Page and Alia Shawkat (or Maeby Fünke) from Arrested Development. Guess that’s what the star power of a Chanel perfume commercial does for your street cred.
Perhaps the show’s standout image is one typical of Fuller’s signature style and ultimately defines the collection’s overall message. It’s a blurred mixture of impossibly blue water, a white sand beach and a sapphire sky. Again, Rothko comes to mind. The primarily untitled canvases he was famous for were fairly simple – two or three blocks of color, separated by a line of origin. But for Rothko, the work was representative of something massive: human life force or a “breath of life.”
The same could be said for Fuller’s work. His photos are gorgeous but fairly basic. They stem from the exotic destinations he visits during his travels in search of waves. And like Rothko’s multiforms, Fuller’s photos convey an abstract feeling, something buried beneath a straightforward “postcard” image of a beautiful beach. But in his case, it’s the ”breath of life” found through scouring the globe, exploring the unknown and taking the plunge over an unfamiliar ledge.
Danny Fuller’s Liquid Horizon is on view through August 29.