Joe Surf: Brophy puts it all out there for his art

June 09, 2011
  • The Brophy family: Drew, Maria and Dylan, 9.
The Brophy family: Drew, Maria and Dylan, 9.

Sorry for going all "artsy" on you, but when you really think about it, surfers are artists. You could say the board is their paintbrush, and the wave is their canvas.

For Drew Brophy, the whole surfer-artist thing is more literal than figurative.

He's a surfer first, but also has a deep passion for art, hence the "surf lifestyle artist" tag he proudly wears. It's not just a hobby for Brophy—it's his livelihood, his life.

Brophy became a surf lifestyle artist 20 years ago by creating designs for surfboards. Now he and his wife Maria run their art agency, Son of the Sea, Inc., a business in which Brophy's art is created not only for surfboards, but also for t-shirts, skateboards, wakeboards, bikes, motorcycles, even cars and vans. You name it. If you can imagine it, Brophy can do it.

Brophy has an art studio in San Clemente where his surf lifestyle paintings are created and sold to individuals, companies and manufacturers who put his work on their products.


"My inspiration comes from a life of surfing and being on the water," said Brophy, 40, who learned to surf growing up in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. "I try to put that lifestyle onto products created in Southern California. Everyone wants a piece of the Southern California surfing lifestyle.

"In the early days, I was a professional surfboard painter. I wanted to be able to use my creativity any way I could. It was the only thing I could find as a consistent job, and it allowed me to have a career as an artist. I figured out a way to make my living in the genre that I liked—it was surfing."

Though surfing and art have been a part of Brophy's life since he was little, it wasn't so easy to make a career out of it. A high school counselor once told him that he couldn't surf and paint forever.

Oh yeah?

"It's a funny story, because as a teenager, you're forced to deal with what you're going to do," Brophy said. "Unfortunately, the things I was good at, nobody thought was important or valuable. It's a hard thing to hear as a kid. I didn't like it. I told myself this is what I'm going to do."

And that brings us to Brophy's latest venture—television. If Brophy is the talent in the operation, Maria is the brains. Maria noticed that some of Brophy's YouTube videos were popular, "especially one of Drew painting a Fender guitar," Maria said.

So the logical next step? Reality television, of course.

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