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Editor’s Note: This interview was previously released by the San Diego Surf Film Festival. Check out the full 2016 SDSFF schedule here. Reposted with permission.
Interview performed by Pierce Kavanagh with Damian X Fulton
San Diego, CA (February 17, 2016)
Damian and I have been friends for a long time now and I just was waiting for the perfect opportunity to highlight his incredible artistic talents. Now is that time.
So let’s get right into it and hear about it right from Damian himself.
Please give a brief career highlight reel to bring everybody up to speed?
I feel all weird talking about myself.
Basically I’ve worked for Marvel and Disney, had a college in Southern California exhibit a retrospective of my life’s work while still alive, featured in the 20th Anniversary Kustom Kulture show along side my idol Rick Griffin, exhibited in Milan last year, and this summer I’ll be the only mural/surf artist on GNC’s Fresh Paint reality show. Not sure that last one is a highlight or not.
Describe your art aesthetic?
Hard for me to articulate. But here’s what several unidentified sources claimed off the record…
“Not everything golden is groovy according to Los Angeles based artist Damian Fulton. Distinctly original, often darkly humorous, and always imaginative, his vision takes a stark look at the stereotypical and often dysfunctional California lifestyle, especially the coastal scene.”
“Fulton’s work centers on his observations of So Cal’s surf culture. In his beach environment, the waves are rough, the surfers are rougher. The narrative is diverse and complex. The surf scene in Los Angeles can be strange and brutal at times, but for Fulton, it appears to be the elixir that fuels his imagination.”
I approve this message.
I was influenced as a kid by Mad magazine, DC and Marvel Comics, and classic mid century animation. My teen years were fueled by Rick Griffin and Zap comix, 70’s Album cover art, Frank Frazetta, and the emerging hot rod and motorcycle culture. Lately i’ve been inspired by the work of turn of the century illustrators like NC Wyeth, Howard Pyle, and Norman Rockwell. All of this stuff somehow makes it into my doodles!
Your first offering to the surf world was your poster for the HB contest in the 1980s?
I believe those posters were the first published surf art I ever did. In the early 80s I was painting event posters for BMX races and some marketing folks thought my style would work for the infamous OP Pro event. That was one of my favorite gigs of all time. Sigh.
Since then your art has been featured in galleries all over the world. Surf art guy gone good?
Yes. From lowly surf poster doodler to hoity toity global gallery guy. That pretty much sums up my art career’s arc.
Can you give us a hint on what to expect from you art-wise during the SDSFF 2016?
There’s a crazy image that’s been rolling around my head that I hope to capture in a live mural painting right on the premises of the Misfit Pictures HQ during the course of the SDSFF. Plus there’s some sketches that have popped up which will be the basis for the SDSFF event poster. We’re producing a hand silk screened limited edition poster to commemorate the 5 year anniversary. What else? Funny you should ask… I’m working on a nifty logo for the 2016 SDSFF as we speak, I mean as we email.
Name one thing in your studio you just could not do without.
Regular or Goofy?
The list of previous SDSFF artists is like a who’s who in the world of surf art. I imagine you gotta be bringing your A-game on this one?
Ugh…I can’t handle the pressure. I resign as official artist of the 2016 SDSFF. Actually I’m just pulling your big fat hairy leg.
Thankfully, I really believe my creative brew is peaking. If all goes well, I’m planning to bring the full force of my experience and rad vibe.
Last question, could this be one of the greatest things to ever happen to you?
Absolutely. Surf+Film+ Art. What could be better?
I love you man.
I love you.
For more information on the upcoming San Diego Surf Film Festival 2016 list of events, please visit www.sandiegosurffilmfestival.
For more of Damian Fulton’s amazing art, please visit: