Tuesday, February 11, 2014



I had the opportunity recently to spend some time with our good friend Skye Walker, SDSFF 2014 artistic director. While he acknowledged that he has big shoes to fill, I  knew he had it in him.  Now that I have seen the new SDSFF artwork,  program and logo overhaul, I feel sorry for whoever is next.

What process did you go through to become the artistic director for the third annual SDSFF?
I was asked to be a contributing artist at the first SDSFF in 2012, and it was an amazing event.  Joe Hodnicki was the art director and he killed it. Then in 2013 Matt Beard stepped things up and killed it with his art direction, and we had a great art show together as well. So then I was asked to be art director and  the featured artist for 2014.  I am totally honored to be involved and to put my spin on the poster design and all of the other fun activities.

Describe the first two film festivals and what the SDSFF means to the community?
San Diego was in dire need of this event. Surfing is such an integral part of our community and California coastal living. The film festival brought out the professionals and the amateur filmmakers alike to not only submit films but to watch films and celebrate wave riding in the form of movies --  and who doesn’t like a great surf movie?  The first year was awesome. I submitted a fun short film called ‘The Escape’ about body surfing; it was so fun to see it on the big screen with people hooting and cheering. The second year was even bigger and more people caught wind of what a rad event it was, so people were coming out of the woodwork to froth over great films and all around stoke. It reminded me of the surf films that traveled around back in the day, like Endless Summer, and it evoked a sense of excitement and adventure in people that can’t be matched with other film festivals. Plus, you walk out of each showing feeling totally stoked to surf, make a surf film and help protect the oceans. Plus, Birds Surf Shed as a venue… insane!

Amazing artwork by Skye Walker

How would you describe yourself as an artist and how you fit in with the SDSFF?
While I do a lot of different kinds of art like paintings, illustrations, cartoons and large scale murals, ocean related art has always been on my mind -- whether it’s art with a more serious tone on reclaimed wood or more illustrative work that taps into the playful fun nature of surfing, I’m always thinking of new ways to create art with different perspectives on the ocean environments that we all love.  And since my work taps into those ocean/surf themes, I think it fits well with the subject matter of the film fest.

Who are your influences and what path has your art been taking?
The ocean, waves and its sea life is a constant source of inspiration for my work. I’ve been doing a lot of work on reclaimed wood and materials lately. The reclaimed wood takes on a life of it’s own with the grain and paint interacting with each other, and it really gives the eye something fun to look at versus flat art. The nice thing is that while the ocean stays fairly constant as a source of inspiration, the directions your art can be taken are endless. I do try to incorporate a bit of an environmental message whenever I can in my work because at the end of the day we can’t just take and take and enjoy the ocean and our environments without helping out or giving back.

What is your favorite thing about surfing and being in the water?
No phone. No computer. No distractions. It’s just you and the sea and feeling the energy of the water all around you. Gliding across a wave, getting an amazing barrel vision or just watching a wave go unridden with pelicans cruising along the surface. It’s like nothing else on earth and can’t be beaten or duplicated.

Would you be SDSFF art director again?
Hell yes… but only if I get surf lessons from Tom Curren.

What are some art events we can expect for this year's SDSFF?
There’s so much to be excited about with the film fest this year! I’m particularly excited for The Undertow VIP Party that’s kicking things off on Wednesday, May 7th. It’s happening at  Karl Strauss Brewery in San Diego and will have all kinds of rad things going on. There will be live music by the Saline Solutions, epic Karl Strauss beer, dakine grinds by Daphne’s California Greek, surf films & goodie bags for all the Nautilus Pass holders. It’s also a one night only “Gallery” event with original art by Matt Beard, Gage Hingeley, Joe Hodnicki and your’s truly. And that’s just the first night!
I’m also stoked that our friends over at MIZU  are providing us with a filtered water station at the film festival. Bring your own water bottle (or I’ll have some limited edition Skye Walker art water bottles for sale at the door) and fill up your bottle for free with fresh, clean drinking water so you can stay hydrated for all the films. This saves plastic water bottles from going into the trash and the ocean. 

Plus, there are other cool things that are going to happen, but I don’t want to give away all the surprises. It’s going to be the best San Diego Surf Film Festival yet!

To see more of Skye's amazing artwork visit: www.skyewalkerart.com

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