Out of the Blue (Oil on Panel 12"x24") © 2007 Alders<b><a href="http://shop.jayalders.com/Out-of-The-Blue_p_18.html" mce_href="http://shop.jayalders.com/Out-of-The-Blue_p_18.html" target="_blank">Buy Now</a></b>

Talent is a funny thing.  Everyone has their strengths and their unique attributes.  Some people take time and energy to develop their particular set of skills, while others seem to let their talents waste away.  Another interesting aspect of talent is that it often goes to a person’s head. 

This is not the case with surf artist Jay Alders.  One look at his artwork and it is undeniable that he exudes talent and that he has developed it.  He also has an absolute knack for capturing the feel of surfing and the lifestyle that surfers cherish.  Yet none of this has gone to his head.  I recently had the chance to sit and talk with him over a cup of coffee and what follows are portions of a very interesting conversation:

Sea Sand Surf:  The first time I saw your paintings I was here in this very Starbucks (in Neptune, New Jersey).  It must have been a couple of years ago. 

Jay Alders: Yeah, they have shown my work twice now.

SSS:  I was immediately struck by your ability to capture light.  You have a way of bringing the visually translucent nature of the surfing experience to the canvas.  How do you do that?

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JA:  I have always been interested in the way that things work.  When I am surfing or looking at the ocean I am curious about the way that light interacts with the wave.  I am intrigued by the curves that appear naturally in the ocean, along the dunes of the beach and in the human form as well.

SSS: How do you cultivate that awareness and what inspires you?

JA: I just try to pay attention to the details in life. Whether listening to music, checking the waves or watching a seagull fly across the beach I try to understand the movement  and seek inspiration in everything. 

SSS: So were you always an artist who had a primary focus on surfing?

JA: Not necessarily. My whole life, I’ve been into skateboarding.  It was not until I got my driver’s license that I started surfing regularly at Manasquan Inlet and started obsessing over waves and surfing.

SSS: So you were officially bitten by the bug too.

JA: Yes, officially bitten… (laughs)

SSS: When did that creative change take place for you?  As an artist you are renowned for capturing the surf vibe.

JA: I had been working on a painting titled Back to Me during a point in my life which was very transformational, hence the title Back to Me which holds several meanings. Upon moving to the beach, I was about ready to complete the piece. I painted a window in the background looking out onto the beach and it dawned on me to try to incorporate my love of the ocean in some future pieces.  That was 5-6 years ago now.

Back to Me (Oil on Canvas)

SSS: So that window literally opened a new world for you.

JA: (laughs) I suppose you could say that. Life imitating art…

SSS: Exactly. And speaking of life, how do you fit surfing into your routines as an artist.

JA: Like most New Jersey Surfers I am forced to suffer through long flat spells, so when the waves come I do everything I can to be on it. 

SSS: Living in Belmar helps I am sure.

JA: Absolutely.  I am able to keep my eye on conditions.  When the swell, winds and tides combine, I make it priority to grab my board and run for the local break.

SSS: One of my favorite paintings of yours is Solitube. I love the play on words too.  This is a quality of life that is difficult to find in New Jersey and surfing provides that peace for a lot of us.  How has the fast pace of New Jersey influenced you?

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JA: Jersey is tough place.  I have had the chance to travel quite a bit and there are few places as intense.  The one thing that living here has taught me is how to hustle.  To be successful and make a career as an artist you need to have business sense, and New Jersey teaches you that the hard way.

SSS: In keeping with the theme of intensity and difficulty, how would you represent the BP spill as an artist?  Your work brings such a positive light into the world, but how would you handle that subject if you had to?

A laughing gull in distress tries to climb on an oil boom

JA: Man, that is a tough one. As an artist it is a struggle to make a political comment that is not overly heavy handed. My initial reaction is that I would take an emotional approach, maybe an oil slick wave or an injured bird. Artistically, I do my best to bring an optimistic approach to the work, but I do think it is important to document the times that we live in.

SSS: Well, your work is absolutely awesome, and I know that you are on the move. I can’t thank you enough for taking some time to have a chat.  What is on the immediate horizon?

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JA: I am leaving for a three tour stop of Brazil in conjunction with Almasurf this week. I’ll be on tour with John Butler Trio and Rob Machado which is pretty rad. It is a music and art festival and I am stoked to be invited back this year.  On July 14th I have an exhibition planned at Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park. My friend Donavan Frankenreiter is playing a concert across the street and he’ll be making a guest apperance at my show as he did last year .

SSS: Excellent news. I am sure the surf community will be in effect that night.  I know buzz is starting to spread already. Hopefully Donavan will bring a swell with him on his tour bus.  This flat spell is killing me.

JA: He brought some big swell last summer.  We had a sweet run of waves that week when he was in town.  Donavan is a great guy, and I think he has it written into his tour rider that there needs to be waves wherever he goes (laughs).

SSS: Let’s hope so, because if it works out for him it works out for all of us hardened Jersey Surfers.  Is there anything else of interest?

JA: I will be at The Pit in the Outer Banks of North Carolina on July 9th and 10th for a solo art exhibit and charity skate to raise money for Surf Aid International.  Our musician friends The Movement, Quincy Mumford & Gabe Gomez will be performing, and our bro’s from Original Skateboards will be doing longboard skating demos and releasing the new line of Jay Alders Longboard Skateboards.

SSS: So there is no shortage of upcoming events.  Of course we can follow along at http://www.jayalders.com/.  With any luck, we can get you to check in again along the way. We are wishing you the best.  Just don’t let the rest of the world know that Jersey gets waves too.

JA: (laughs) No doubt.  It is best to keep it our little secret.

  1. indie says:


    this guy has the surf touch and the artist’s eye. that is some solid stuff. i may have borrowed some for my phone wallpaper. what a way to keep things in perspective!

    i am in a place now in the mountains. there’s no phone service, but there is internet.

    thinkin’ about you bro and looking forward to catching a solid wave or two and a jersey freshie afterwards, steaming hot from the place around the corner.

    independence is a week away. i’ll try and call from there.

    don’t forget to catch a few for me!

  2. […] >>>Check out the full interview here // SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "Seas and Surf Interview", url: "http://jayalders.com/press/seas-and-surf-interview.html&quot; }); Thursday, July 1st, 2010 Jay Alders 0 Interviews, Press, Surf Industry […]

  3. Traci says:

    I have admired Jay’s work for quite awhile. We have about 10 prints of his in our home in Costa Rica. I am super excited to finally meet him in person when he visits the Outer Banks, NC next week. Good interview 🙂

    • M says:

      Thanks for the comments. Jay is a great guy and his art is amazing. I just bought my wife a print on canvas and it is awesome. I am sure The Pit will be happening with all going on. Please feel free to shout us out with some details afterwards.

  4. […] Brush Stroke Stoke « Sea Sand Surf No comments for this entry yet… […]

  5. mike says:

    Good Job!

  6. Surf Shop says:

    Jay does some amazing work, great interview!

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