Renowned Artist – John Van Hamersveld

David L Martin with John Van HamersveldThis past weekend at the closing reception of artist/designer John Van Hamersveld solo show at Cal State Northridge, I met one of my favorite artists, a true icon of contemporary and early surf art culture. John is still creating “waves” in the art world both figuratively and literally and as a beach artist I am humbled to meet this gracious man and to see a significant body of his pen and ink work on display.  What an inspiration to say the least! I was fortunate to spend many long summer days and evenings in the 60’s absorbing the beach culture; my earliest drawings of “art” are of drawing waves – lots and lots of waves. Van Hamersveld spent a moment to pose for a picture with my daughter and I and we had a brief chat about his pen and ink process of his pipeline poster pictured above. In addition to working on my own art and the Beachbones brand, I teach graphic design to middle and high school aged kids. In my classroom, I have a beautiful Endless Summer screen print (80’s) that John originally created while in art school in the early 60’s for the equally iconic Bruce Brown surfing documentary.  This poster is key for two reasons, first and foremost, it helps remind me of a place I love (beach and surfing) and secondly it becomes a focal point for one of my lessons in poster design which begins with a talk on Van Hamersveld’s  style; his use of color, rhythm and vibrancy.  Van Hamersveld is a master, balancing both the creative hand work and digital computer work required for manifesting his artistic vision. Shepard Fairy suggests that Van Hamersveld has created not one, but many images (i.e. the Pinnacle Hendrix poster below, Endless Summer)  that are “completely emblematic”  un-alterable and perfect in their purpose and form, I would whole heartily agree .

Ivy near Hendrix poster

I walked out of the show inspired, as we say in the surf culture, completely stoked!  Bearing two of Johns other beautiful  wave/surf posters, I will put them up where I teach for  future graphic designers to gaze upon, for inspiration and study. Thank you John for being such a profound part of the art and surf culture and thank you to Alida Post for her generosity and support to teachers in the arts.


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