Warm earth tones, trippy waves, groovy dudes, and friendly birds embellish the canvases of local artist and surfer Joe Vickers. With a demeanor akin to his surf art, the true waterman uses a mix of techniques and materials to create stunning, colorful works of salty landscapes and blooming flowers, transporting viewers to the shorelines of Huntington Beach and ambiguous islands. Experimenting with painting original works on wood, the Florida native and Santa Ana resident reproduces all of his creations as high-quality giclée prints and handmakes his clean wood frames. Joe's "Surfrider I" just joined our Main & PCH Marketplace, and a few more of his framed prints are featured at the Main & PCH Holiday Pop-Up Gift Shop.
We asked Joe a few questions about his craft to get "the story behind the storefront."
Main & PCH: Sum up your life story in three sentences.
Joe Vickers: My dad made me listen to a lot of Rolling Stones records. Then I started surfing. I moved to CA, met my wife, and we had our beautiful daughter, who I now make listen to a lot of Rolling Stones records.
Describe the "5 Ws" that led to you being a maker.
Who: My mom and dad always encouraged me to draw. My wife inspired me to start selling my art about a year and a half ago.
What: I always drew cartoons, mostly just characters. Still do! I loved the way a story could be told in just a few panels. More recently, I started drawing waves. Hundreds and hundreds of waves. Waves for days.
When: My whole life. I've been doodling forever and only more recently started painting. Doodling rules.
Where: When I moved into my house, I decided to turn my garage into a studio. Then I decided it should also be a wood shop. Then I set up a small office. It's awesome.
Why: I've had people go out of their way to tell me that my work makes them happy. There's no greater compliment than that.
What makes your goods unique?
In every piece, my goal is to make the lines define the color. Also, everything that comes out of my studio has been thoroughly inspected and approved by my dog, Penny.
Where do you currently live, and where are you from?
I've lived in Santa Ana for two years now. I grew up in central Florida—insert strange Florida story here. I've lived in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Huntington Beach too.
Detail your creative process.
My goods are 100% handmade. The paintings and illustrations start off on a piece of wood or paper where I lay out the initial design and begin filling in the colors. I use acrylic, gouache, marker, inks and a few digital features for logos and illustrations.
The wooden frames are the result of many, many nights of trial and error. I found it nearly impossible to find an affordable wooden frame that was to my liking. Most everything on the market is plastic and not very well put together. About a year ago, I went to work in my studio and began constructing a few basic frames so that I could be proud of how my artwork was displayed. I continue to make adjustments here and there so that they are of the highest quality.
What/who inspires you?
My daughter and wife inspire me the most. They're the two happiest people I've ever seen in life, and I try and capture that in all of my work.
Why do you love Huntington Beach, aside from the weather and waves?
I love the people. Have you ever strolled around downtown and had a look at all the wonderful people walking about? It's awesome.
Where would you like to see your business in the next few years?
I've been selling my work for about a year and a half. It's been a pretty crazy run so far. I continue to try new things and explore new opportunities that present themselves. Currently, this is not my full-time job. That's goal number one for the foreseeable future.
What's your motto?
"What fun is it being cool if you can't wear a sombrero?" -"Calvin and Hobbes"
Is there anything else you really want readers to know about you, your story, and/or your goods?
I hate littering. Please don't litter.
Joe Vickers is a featured maker in the Main & PCH Marketplace. Shop his "Surfrider I" framed print.