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Fun in the Sun: Paintings by Surf Artist Drew Brophy

Lifestyle Artist Drew Brophy has been a professional artist for over 25 years. He says that “It’s my job to make things look cool.” A longtime provider of art for SKINIT, Drew creates over 100 new art pieces a year, many of which make it into the Skinit catalog.

Brophy is best known for surfing big waves and painting surfboards. He is often credited with being the artist that changed the way surfboards were painted in the late 1990’s and has influenced an entire generation of artists with his distinct style. But there’s another side to him and that’s one of being in love with nature and gardening.

Drew Brophy’s newest Skinit designs are bright and cheerful and come from paintings he created in his San Clemente, California studio. Drew’s inspiration for the “Sun and Fun” collection was drawn from his lush backyard, which he has grown into a mini-jungle.

We caught up with Drew and asked him a few questions about being a surf artist, his life of travel and the “Sun and Fun” collection of paintings:

Drew Brophy Paintings

As a surf artist, many of your paintings depict the surf and beach life. But the six new paintings in your “Sun and Fun” collection are more playful and childlike. Why?

Most adults are oblivious to the fun that’s found in nature. If you really take the time to watch a ladybug, you’ll see a little personality that’s cruising around your garden in its own little universe. Kids see things that most adults miss. They are fascinated by any little thing that moves; a firefly, a stick bug blending into a tree trunk and bumble bees.

This art was painted from what I think is a child’s point of view, with the wonder of what’s unique about plants and little creatures that make you happy when you look at them. Reminds me of when I was a little kid.

Most of your paintings are big. Your “Sun and Fun” paintings are on 45″ x 24″ birch wood. Why do you prefer to paint big paintings over smaller ones?

I just like the way they look! And, it’s easier for me to get more detail on a big surface.

Drew Brophy working on one of his paintings

What medium did you use for these paintings?

Uni Posca paint pens and acrylics. I use Poscas for most of my art.

Do most of your paintings have some deep meaning?

No, I paint what I love, which is surfing, nature and simplicity. What can be simpler than a little shack on the beach in a warm place with great waves? It’s an idea that anyone who enjoys the coastline can relate to.

You often will paint an entire collection of large paintings in a week that would take some artists 6 months to do. How do you pull that off?

Sometimes I carry around ideas with me for years, and then I get the chance to paint them. I’m extremely focused and efficient. Once I get started on a painting, I keep going until it’s finished, often forgetting to stop to eat or go home.

Drew Brophy Painting

You recently took a five month trip across country. How do you leave your studio and your business for that long?

My family and I take 2-3 months off every year to travel the world. This time, we decided to see the U.S. and took five months to explore 26 states and visit family on the East Coast. Though we were having fun, we also found business everywhere we went. Some of it was pre-planned, such as me painting a 61′ wall mural in South Carolina, and giving a painting workshop in Florida. But, with most of my work being licensed, as long as I have wifi, I can work from anywhere.

Gandhi said “My life is my message.” What’s the message you want to give the world with your art and your life?

I want to show people that they can live a great life making art. What I’ve been doing for the past 25 years is all pretty selfish – I want to surf and travel and make art, using the one thing that I’m good at.

My message is to take your strengths and passions and meld them together to make a nice life. That’s all.

Drew Brophy’s designs are available in a variety of skins. Check them out HERE.

Want to know more? You can view Drew Brophy’s artwork and biography at


A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

Gregg Visintainer, aka Viz, is a self taught artist. At age 18, after a pretty severe car accident that required 2 back surgerys, Viz moved from the Bay area to San Diego to be near his family. Following the accident, Visintainer stopped creating art for nearly six years as he struggled to overcome his own personal demons, which included drug and alcohol abuse, and getting kicked out of community college. Around age 24, a sequence of unfortunate events occurred that inspired him to turn his life around and really focus on his passion, drawing.

Viz’s artwork is hand drawn, using only pen and ink. His style is incredibly unique and meticulously detailed. Every drawing is made up of various hidden pictures, words, and messages – giving each piece their own distinctive meaning. Viz is inspired by his own personal life experiences, and by individuals who make a difference and are willing to take risks.

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Designing and Dreaming

We were honored to get a sneak peek inside the fresh, modern, and classic world of designer Robin Zingone, and couldn’t resist sharing what we learned with all of you! Enjoy!

You’ve had quite the journey, and your personal story is quite inspiring. What has kept you continually inspired and always positive throughout all of life’s ordeals?

Every life has chapters. One night I went to sleep normal and woke up abnormal. My brain started to bleed from a lesion unbeknownst to me. I lost my sense of balance, my eyes crossed, I lost hearing in my left side, I got lockjaw and the left side of my face was numb. Basically, happy hour without the happy.

The neurosurgeon told me I was at risk of blindness, paralysis, coma and death, but the little voice in my head said “oh, no no no no no!” From the time I came out of surgery to today, I told myself I could beat the odds. Luckily with therapy, my first fix was getting the cross eyes to go back in place since I was not digging that look. And I’ve been working with a personal trainer to get my balance back. My hearing returned and I can get a fork in my mouth now. And the silver lining…I was able to work 2 months after surgery. Sitting in front of my computer designing and dreaming, leaving the world of ugly; hospitals, medicine and sadness and entering my world of beauty, art and happy. If I had had any other career I would probably still be laying in bed. My work brought me back to life and now I’m ready for the next chapter. Read More…

Surf, Sun, and Brush Strokes

You’ve been painting for most of your life. Growing up, were there any particular artists that inspired you or whose style you sought to emulate?

I grew up surfing in South Carolina as a young kid in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The art that I saw in surf magazines back then was really cool. Though I didn’t know who the artists were at the time, they were a strong influence on me; guys like Rick Griffin and Bill Ogden. Read More…

When Custom & Creativity Combine

What prompted the move to the United States in 2000, and in what ways has American culture influenced your work since then?

I moved to the US because of my marriage. I was leading a typical Japanese life, but I ended up living here! Life brings lots of surprises.

Yes, American culture has influenced me a lot. I was a traditional calligrapher most of the time, but now I try to incorporate Japanese calligraphy with colors, acrylic, canvas, graphic, and fabric — anything interesting. When I first arrived here, I had to learn English and the culture. It was tough, but I can now say I learned a lot from that and I never gave up wanting to be an artist.

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Identity is Everything


An Interview with Graphic Designer & Vinyl Artist, Jorge Oswaldo.

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Q&A with Peter Horjus

Peter’s design work is built on the idea of simple order. His inspiration varies from fashion found at art gallery openings to art found at old hardware stores. He loves to pick up colors, textures, shapes and patterns from simple junk-shopping excursions or a casual day of people watching. Peter loves anything beautifully distressed and aged by time, and we love anything he creates.. Read More…

Kreatively Kool: An Interview with Mariano Diaz, Art Director at 2Kool 2B True

Born on the sunny streets of Miami, 2Kool 2B True aims to ‘spread the vibrating culture, impersonate street smarts and deliver bad-ass apparel.’ With influences from Miami, New York, and L.A., their mixture of fresh and unique styles combined with their astonishing attention to detail, bring an edgy, but realistic, urban street vibe to each design. Recently, skinit had the chance to get inside the mind of Art Director, Mariano Diaz, and as you will see, 2k2bt is undoubtedly Kreatively Kool. Read on… Read More…

Reef Inspired: An Interview With Dersu Rhodes

Here at Skinit we love to embrace the culture and character of each of our designs in order to truly discover what makes each brand unique. We had the amazing opportunity to sit down with Dersu Rhodes of Reef to uncover the art behind the brand.

What goes into the whole creative process behind any Reef Design?

It starts usually with an inspiration trip and some serious blog reading accompanied by some good meetings studying past successes we’ve had with sell in and sales. We also take a deep look into our competitors and how we can stay speak our voice distinctly.

I love heading to NYC, LA, or even San Fran or when we’re lucky, Europe or Australia and seeing what’s going on. You can get so many great ideas from watching people in a fashion forward district as well as cruising around to museums or fabric stores, or even a surf trip can be that perfect spark to your imagination and creativity. Its crazy how many ideas can come when you get out of the office and soak everything in. Then it goes to the drawing board, lots of sketches and collages, and some painting, I usually try to stay away from the computer initially, that thing can sometimes be a creative blocker.

What do you think is the overall message that Reef- as a company – hopes to convey?

I think Reef is about surf, travel, connecting with the ocean whether it is with surf, or just being around it. We are exotic, our roots are in Latin America and we make sure to keep that in mind when we are designing. We hope to spread the message of eco conscious, “redemptive” lifestyle while keeping people who wear our apparel or sandals feeling ridiculously comfortable, technologically on point and on trend! We have so much fun creating the product that comes out of the brand and we want to keep that aspect infused into everything we create. I see so much value in having someone grab their reef sandals or shoes, or throw on their favorite reef boardies or tees, and be reminded of an amazing trip they took or that feeling of being in an exotic location or at the beach even if they are in the city heading to work.

Reef’s most recent campaign is called “Modern Gypsy.” What was the inspiration and vision behind it?

The Path of The Modern Gypsy is really the idea of not calling one place home; instead their home is on the road, in an airplane, on a boat travelling to exotic locations in search of cultural experiences and perfect surf. It’s about inspiring the surfer in all of us. On the apparel side we are so focused on making sure we speak to the guy who loves to travel, and be on vacation, and the idea that you can live out of one bag but still be extremely functional, comfortable and fashionable. We have spent some valuable time with our surf team and really picked their brains on what works for them on a performance and function aspect. On the other side, seeing that a lot of our team comes from places like Australia etc, we know that they really pay attention to fashion. We want them to feel confident that they look good!

Reef Hard Sun Skin for iPhone 4

What inspires you personally?

I love traveling as well, so I think really living that lifestyle is a huge inspiration. I look to architecture, museums, boutiques, even nature for inspiration. There are so many cool prints and patterns that have evolved from sand, or tree trunks etc. I have to say a lot of inspiration comes from the Reef girls as well. I’ve had the opportunity to help creative direct a couple of the shoots with the girls and they are really easy to work with, are from all over the world, and of course are really beautiful! haha

Reef Arabian Nights Skin for iPod Touch (2nd & 3rd gen.)

To date, what has been your greatest or most memorable experience at Reef?

I had an opportunity to go to The North Shore of Oahu last year for the Reef Hawaiian Pro. It was a lot of work setting up the event, but it was my first time to Hawaii, and to sit on the beach and watch one of the biggest swells of the winter hit the north shore and see the our team riders dropping into massive pipeline barrels was so amazing. Helping to produce our apparel Spring 12 line in Bali was amazing as well. The people there are so friendly and welcoming.

Reef Life is Too Short Skin for iPhone 4

It’s 2020. What are you doing? Where are you?

I’m working as hard as I possibly can. I’m full steam ahead with Reef and also trying to get some more traveling in. I’m also working on a blog with some fellow “creatives” and friends called Witness This ( it’s a great creative outlet with where we are helping to promote our friends, and share amazing music design and art. I’m also designing the album cover for Xavier Rudd’s new album coming out this year. So yeah! lots of exciting stuff and I feel really fortunate to be where I am working for a company like Reef and being able to be paid for being creative and do what I love.