Playground en la Playa
Jesse Joshua Watson
When I thought of all the different playgrounds I enjoy, it didn't take long for me to come to the realization that the show must be about surfing. To me this really is my ultimate playground.
Surfing is like a dream. There is nothing that feels more real in that instant, but the further away you are from it, the more surreal it becomes. It is a song that was played and now lives forever in the foggy detail of memory. Was I really surfing last week? Did that actually happen? Even the waves themselves are fleeting. The swells travel across the sea, they double up when they hit shallow sea floor and then they peel, break and crash, ending their life mostly unseen and unheard. This is the reason I portrayed the figures in an intentionally dark and vague way, not just because we all wear wetsuits. I wanted them to appear almost as ghosts, because that is all that is left after a wave is ridden.
The wood grain is something I knew I wanted to include. It is a long-standing element of the sport, from the Koa board of the ancient Hawaiians to the new bamboo boards of today. I got most of my surfaces for the show at Waste Not Want Not in Port Angeles and Port Townsend. Whether real wood or laminates or fiberglass, they all had the distinct look of the different eras of surfing.
To my ink line I added acrylic paint. This ended up looking a little like a stained glass window. I added a thick clear coat of varnish to make the artwork feel like a freshly shaped surfboard does. The result is something I am very excited about. I see it as a major turning point in the evolution of my own art.
The entire show is drawn directly from my experiences as a Northwest Surfer. The locations, some of them secret, are my most beloved surfing spots and the narrative is that of my intimate interaction with God through the temple of these moving walls of water spawned from the storms hundreds of miles away. Those of you who partake know exactly what I am talking about. This is my deepest expression of spirituality and I hope you find the opportunity to share in it yourself someday. But for now, here is my visual celebration of surfing.