Artist Paul McNeil Muses on Goofy As Surfing
The lackadaisical, drooping C-shape wave mural reflects the irreverence with which New Zealand-born, Byron Bay-based artist Paul McNeil approaches most topics, from surfing and surf culture to music and politics to philosophical ruminations, Matthew Shaw writes for Surfer magazine.
McNeil painted the large, defanged wave for his “Goofy As” installation, put on in conjunction with the Deus 9 Ft and Single Festival held in June in Bali. McNeil’s sardonic wit and dry humour emanates from the dozens of pieces that adorned the walls.
“Surfing is goofy and fun and ridiculous. It’s hilarious,” McNeil told Shaw when they talked at Deus.
Aside from collaborations with surf brands and surfboard shapers, McNeil’s work – which bounces between colourful and humourous and grey and grim – has been featured on the music posters and record sleeves of musicians, including The Beastie Boys, Beck, Dinosaur Jr., Fugazi, Pavement and Sonic Youth. McNeil is also a cofounder of The Art Park, a gallery and artist residency project in Byron Bay.
“I was privileged to grow up in a country as beautiful as New Zealand,” McNeil explains. “But it was pretty grey, boring and English then, and lacking in art. I’m pleased to say that nowadays we are surrounded by art and everyone’s an artist. But back in the ‘70s, it was a very rare thing, and not a ‘real’ job, so to speak.
“My art education came from comics and Hot Rod art, which was wild. The surf scene was the cool scene, but we all looked to the US and Australian surf mags for style and culture – you know, Gerry Lopez and that incredible Lightning Bolt, which I still use often in my art today.”
Original article by Matthew Shaw, Surfer, August 22, 2017.