Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
A pen in the right hands can create wonders. This is especially true when it’s one of the Posca paint pens surf artist Drew Brophy uses to apply his electrifying images on stretched canvas and surfboards.
“The pens saved my life,” says Brophy, explaining that they enabled him to paint in an entirely different way, freed from the labor intensive and messy air brush methods he had used before. Paintings that took all day to do could be done in a fraction of that time. And the detail and clarity were far superior.
Brophy’s journey to becoming one of the world’s top surf artists wasn’t easy, filled with setbacks, rejections, and questions about whether he could turn his passion for surfing and painting into a career. But, through it all he never lost faith in his abilities and desire to create his own unique vision for all to see.
SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are always in awe of Brophy’s powerful paintings and how they draw you into another world of color and excitement. You’re in a parallel universe where the suns are brighter and the oceans are bluer.
Raised in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, when Brophy was four years old his dad got him a Styrofoam kickboard and he wrote his name “Drew” on it with crayons. “It was the first board I ever painted,” says Brophy. Who would have guessed that this was the start of the surfing and painting life Brophy has made for himself?
Along the way, one pivotal event helped him to find his path to success. It was an act of kindness by a family friend. In 1992 Brophy was talking to his parents and their friends the Rosens about some colored ink pens he thought would be great for painting surfboards, but they were only available in Japan.
“Two weeks later I came home and was surprised to find a giant box on the kitchen table. It was full of Uni Posca paint pens of every size and color,” Brophy recalls. “Mr. Rosen had gone to Japan on business and searched all over the city to find them for me.”
With his wife Maria, who he met in 1996, by his side Brophy has achieved a level of success greater than he ever dreamed. His soulmate – the Yin to his Yang – Maria is also a marketing expert who has helped Brophy find his artistic niche and develop a global audience.
Brophy has painted surfboards and skateboards, T-shirts and shoes, music CD covers, event posters, giant canvasses, worked with brands (Liquid Force Wakeboards, Keen Footwear, Billabong, Google, Pepsi, Hard Rock Casino), exhibited in museums and his own gallery in San Clemente, CA.
SurfWriter Girls and Patti’s husband Greg Kishel were at the gallery for the launch of Brophy’s new book Painting Surfboards and Chasing Waves. Written with Maria, it tells his incredible story and message to artists: “Find you passion and pair it with your art.”
And, pay it forward. On his travels he always leaves some Posca paint pens behind so upcoming surf artists can use them to create their own wonders.
To explore inside the Brophy Gallery and see more artworks, click on: Creative Waves
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