Monday, January 18, 2010


Revisiting Artist FJ Anderson

The visions one beholds while surfing are unforgettable. Throwing lips, of all shades of green and blue, pitch their curtains in stunning displays of form and beauty. Peering into the vortex of a barreling wave, one can't help but become mesmerized by the sight. Sunlit spray hanging in the air like shining sequins. Cascading walls of emerald energy meeting abruptly in an explosive union. Being so close to the power of Mother Nature is exhilarating, and these moments have the power to burn themselves into one’s imagination forever.

These are the scenes that young artist FJ Anderson lives for, and hopes to share with those who can’t get out in the water to see for themselves. FJ, a 24 year old aspiring artist and lifetime Live Oak resident has been creating large scale wave paintings that brings the viewer up-close-and-personal with the waves that pound our coastline. His art has a way of transporting you right into the thick of the action. One painting could take you deep inside the guts of a massive, tubing wave, while another could put you directly underneath an oncoming lip, creating the dizzying feel of liquid vertigo.

Growing up a stone’s throw away from Sunny Cove beach on Santa Cruz’s East Side, Anderson enjoyed a youth greatly influenced by the ocean. Prowling the tide pools for sea life with his trusty dog Suki, fishing off the cliffs, Junior Life Guards at Twin Lakes Beach, and swimming are some of the ocean inspired activities that took up a great deal of his time. In these childhood years, where the ocean and beach seemed to be just about everything, another interest was sparked in young FJ’s subconscious.

Largely due to a supportive push by his watercolor painting grandmother, FJ began his lifelong obsession with art. Not long after he could walk, he was drawing, painting, and creating with clay. When he entered 6th grade at Shoreline Middle school, FJ’s training took a more structured course. It was in these elective art classes that his real passion began to take form into something more serious. He credits his teacher, Mark Marengo, with facilitating and nurturing this passion.

“ Marengo used to show us slides of his past student’s best works, and seeing the stuff produced by kids just like me, really inspired me to push myself to my full potential”, FJ reminisces of his early training as a student of art. It was these early years that FJ developed his signature style, which focuses on photo real depictions of the natural world and it’s inhabitants. FJ continued this focus throughout his formal schooling, working diligently towards his BA in Fine Arts at UCSC, and most recently, a Masters Certificate in Scientific Illustration from UC Extension. These days FJ has been focusing on his wave paintings.

The paintings themselves are quite large, sometimes reaching lengths of 4’X 9’. His medium of choice is oil paint on canvas or masonite. The paintings usually incorporate perspectives not seen by those simply looking at the waves from the cliffs. He actually pits the viewer in the place of a surfer paddling out or a swimmer ducking under waves. By focusing on this perspective, he aims to give people access to a view they may never have had the opportunity to experience. “ It’s all about that one frozen moment in time, a moment that will never happen again. No two moments are the same, and the same could be said for waves,” remarks FJ on the theme behind his current work. “ The lighting, shapes, colors, atmosphere, mood, and feel of waves is always changing and shifting, and that’s the experience I want to convey with my art”. Currently, FJ is preparing for a journey to New Zealand in the Fall to work as an intern for the New Zealand Marine Studies Center. Here he hopes to gain some valuable work experience, produce some art, and of course put in some valuable time doing “field work” in the regions quality surf. If your interested in purchasing or seeing more of his art, check out his website, at

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