Images courtesy of Heather Brown.
If you’re part of the surf community, and perhaps even if you aren’t, you may have seen the beautiful creations of Heather Brown. This talented artist has become an icon in the world of modern surf art, and it isn’t difficult to understand why. You need only catch a glimpse of her colourful and happy creations. But behind the art is a down-to-earth lady who is passionate about sharing the Aloha spirit, bringing about an appreciation and awareness of our beautiful planet, and just doing what she loves. Heather Brown shares a bit of her story.
At what point did your creative endeavours become your life’s work?
Right around 2000 or so, I started selling some work and concentrating much more of my energy on creating art with any free time I could find. I was working multiple jobs as a Dive Master and Boat Captain, as well as some service industry jobs, so most of my art time would be late at night and early into the morning. At one point, I decided to take the leap and worked extra hard to make a little bit of savings money that could get me through a few months of not working my jobs. My timing and the universe were pretty perfectly aligned as, shortly after, I met Randy Rarrick from The Triple Crown of Surfing, and he asked if I would do a piece for them, then Jack and Kim Johnson saw my art and asked me to work with them on a Kokua Festival poster, so everything started to fall into place. Since I was so accustomed to working so many hours a day and then painting, I would work in my little Haleiwa studio 12-15 hours a day, and I created a huge body of work to set my career as an artist off.
How would you describe your style?
If I were to describe it, which I never get into as I think art is best enjoyed and not dissected, I would say “Happy.”
What have been the best moments of your career, and what have been the most challenging?
Every moment of my days are the best moments of my career. I do what I love, so it is actually hard to even think of it as a career or job. Things that stand out are seeing hundreds of people lining up at shows because it is just a huge crowd of happy, smiling people filled with Aloha. I really enjoy that, with our business, we are able to donate a large portion of money and goods each year to organizations that we really believe in, and getting to do what I love every day just fills me with happiness and gratitude on a daily basis. The most challenging part is too much time on airplanes!
Tell us a bit about how your lifestyle and your creations reflect each other.
My art centers around my life completely. Living and travelling to beautiful places, I am constantly overfilling with ideas and motivation to try and create what my mind sees. My art is a good way for me to document my day-to-day existence, and years later I can look back on my past creations and remember certain times and feelings in my life.
Is there a feeling or a message that you hope to express through your art?
From an early age, the only thing I ever wanted from my art was to bring more smiles to people’s faces and more Aloha to their hearts. This remains the same today!
Can you describe a typical day in your life?
Typical? Hmmmm… Ha ha! There are so many “typical” days in our lives as we work out of a studio on the North Shore of Oahu and spend some time working out of a studio in the mountains of Colorado as well, in Telluride, and we are on the road about 6-8 months a year as well. So there is not much typical. I generally wake up early though each day, spend some time with our dogs and cats, [and] catch up on some emails and correspondence. If there are waves or good snow, we usually try and get a couple of hours of play in, then back to the studio, and I am usually working ’til pretty late at night. Each week can prove quite different if I have shows scheduled or interviews or design meetings with the companies I do work for. The travelling is a whole different life. My husband is an artist and musician – The Captain Surfs – and he and I were just on tour for a month in Japan and Australia, where our days are always different and always a surprise! This is another reason I just love doing what I do for a living!
What was the last thing that made you smile?
Between my dogs and my husband. Just don’t tell him that! Ha ha.
What are your hopes, dreams, and plans for the future?
My hopes for the future are that people start to grasp the situation of our food systems and a larger percentage of the global population realizes that we can not continue to live as if there are no generations to come after us.
My dreams are filled with peace, love and Aloha.
My plans are to keep creating new art with hopes that I can continue to help spread as much Aloha around the globe as I can while continuing my effort to try and raise more awareness for the Oceans and Lands that we all love so much. It’s actually funny, because I get asked sometimes questions regarding retirement in the future and such, and I just could not fathom ever stopping what I love doing so much, so I think you will see plenty more years of art from me!
Where can people see more of your work?
My official website is www.HeatherBrownArt.com.
I also show art in galleries and boutiques around the world. On my website is a link to all the galleries and stores, as well as my show schedule.
Maddie Buresh is a writer and photographer with an unquenchable desire to explore the great outdoors, from the ocean to the mountains. She finds joy in trying new things, living in community, and crafting stories that encourage people to go outside, have adventures, and enjoy this big, beautiful world.