Surfing on my mind

Surfing on my mind

Some people just have a positive vibe and carry a permanent smile with them. Nataša Lops, a young Dutch illustrator and visual artist, is one of these lucky souls. The basis of her artwork is always black and white line drawings. “It depends on how I’m feeling that I’ll add patterns, dots… It’s like some sort of meditation. If I’m feeling great, I even add more crazy patterns and colour to it!”, she laughs. “In high school M.C. Escher inspired me to draw graphically and finally got me into graphic design. As I got into art school I got inspired by a lot of artist with roots in skateboarding, surf, punk, hip-hop and graffiti”, she adds.

Eyeballing. Image courtesy of Nataša Lops

Surfing on my mind. Image courtesy of Nataša Lops

One of her heroes is Geoff McFetridge, a graphic designer and visual artist who makes clear witty line drawings with a lot of humour. Geoff has worked with diverse people and brands among others, Spike Jonze on the film Where The Wild Things Are, Patagonia, or album covers for Jack Johnson and The Whitest Boy Alive. Thanks to a friend’s recommendation, she watched the documentary Beautiful Losers and she realized “that the artwork I was collecting over the years was actually from one big group of friends: Geoff McFetridge, Barry Mcgee, Thomas Campbell, Shepard Fairey… starring all in the documentary!”.

Probably because of their art influences, Nataša wanted to try surfing, but the waves in Holland were not very inviting. After her first surf sessions in the cold waters of the North Sea, she decided to go one summer to France with a friend and got hooked ever since. On her search for constant adventure, Nataša, saltwater enthusiast, decided one day to quit her job to go to Australia with no plans in her suitcase. Looking for jobs in bars without any experience was not a success, but by coincidence and cosmic alignment, she found a job at a letterpress studio in Brisbane. During her stay in Australia, Nataša spent her weekends at Noosa and Byron Bay with a ramshackle station wagon. It was those days at the beach when the waves were too big, that she stayed on shore and took her pencils. “If I can’t be in the water, I draw about it”, she explains. From then on, her style and subjects concerning the sea kept on evolving.

Water dancers. Image courtesy of Nataša Lops

King of the beach. Image courtesy of Nataša Lops

Besides creating artwork for clothing, fins, hand planes, skateboards and surf brands like O’Neill, Nataša is now experimenting with illustrations on film and photography. She’s now preparing an exhibition together with photographer and friend Jelle Mul where Nataša is drawing on Jelle’s images. You can visit the exhibition in June at HAVEN surf shop in Antwerpen.

Surf noodle arms. Image courtesy of Nataša Lops

Eureka. Image courtesy of Nataša Lops

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