In the heart of La Jolla, between the million-dollar mansions and Bugatti dealerships, lies a storied surf community. It’s where Pierce Michael Kavanagh grew up watching local legends like Chris O’Rourke, Tom Ortner and Peter Lochtefeld surf Windansea and the surrounding reefs.
Some of the finest surfing of the 1970s happened in his very own backyard and he got to bear witness. Every few months, a surf movie would come through town and Kavanagh and his friends would line up in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art to watch the film and feed off the energy of the crowd as he watched his surfing heroes on the big screen.
Those days influenced Kavanagh so much that he decided to start the San Diego Surf Film Festival in 2012.
“Getting together with the people from your local beach and hooting at a surf movie was the best! I wanted to share that feeling that I loved so much as a kid,” Kavanagh said.
Over the past few years the festival has grown from a weekend event held in a local surf shop to a 10-day event held in a 500-person auditorium. To say the community has responded is an understatement.
2016 San Diego Surf Film Festival
May 18: VIP launch party
May 19: Opening night premieres
May 20-21: Duckfoot Brewing take over
May 22-24: Celebrate San Diego events (see website for details)
May 25-26: UCSD Price Center
May 27: Film festival day 1 at Museum of Contemporary Art La Jolla
May 28: Film festival awards ceremony at Museum of Contemporary Art
The festival has become Kavanagh’s full-time job, and he and his wife, Petra, started discussing opening a headquarters for their projects. They hoped to find a location in La Jolla that could capture the spirit of the film festival year-round. The idea was to build a haven for local artists and traveling filmmakers, as well as a place to host special events throughout the year.
This past month, just seven blocks from the house Kavanagh grew up in, he found a funky sub-street-level office space for rent and decided to pursue the dream and open the Misfit Pictures HQ. Now with the fifth annual San Diego Surf Film Festival just a few weeks away, the HQ will serve as home base for all the events surrounding the festival.
“This year, we are doing more than we have done in years past,” Kavanagh said. “We’ve extended the festival to cover 11 days, with community events like beach cleanups, art shows, surfboard building tutorials, filmmaker workshops as well as premiering over 40 films at the festival.”
If you enjoy surfing in San Diego, the San Diego Film Festival is a must-attend event. Start getting hyped and don’t blow it.
A full schedule and locations for events can be found online at sandiegosurffilmfestival.com/schedule.
To visit Pierce and learn more about the events, stop by Misfit Pictures HQ at 565 Pearl St., Suite 100 in La Jolla.
As a lifelong San Diegan, Ken Lewis has surfing and ocean life in his DNA. A 30-year surfer himself, Lewis has worked in the surf and skate industry for most of his career. Send him thoughts about the surfing and fitness worlds to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Instagram @hanger18.
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THE 5TH ANNUAL SAN DIEGO SURF FILM FESTIVAL IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE DAMIAN X FULTON AS OUR 2016 FEATURED ARTIST.
San Diego, CA (February 17, 2016)
Damian and I have been friends for a long time now and I just was waiting for the perfect opportunity to highlight his incredible artistic talents. Now is that time.
So let’s get right into it and hear about it right from Damian himself.
Please give a brief career highlight reel to bring everybody up to speed?
I feel all weird talking about myself.
Basically I’ve worked for Marvel and Disney, had a college in Southern California exhibit a retrospective of my life’s work while still alive, featured in the 20th Anniversary Kustom Kulture show along side my idol Rick Griffin, exhibited in Milan last year, and this summer I’ll be the only mural/surf artist on GNC’s Fresh Paint reality show. Not sure that last one is a highlight or not.
Hard for me to articulate. But here’s what several unidentified sources claimed off the record…
I was influenced as a kid by Mad magazine, DC and Marvel Comics, and classic mid century animation. My teen years were fueled by Rick Griffin and Zap comix, 70’s Album cover art, Frank Frazetta, and the emerging hot rod and motorcycle culture. Lately i’ve been inspired by the work of turn of the century illustrators like NC Wyeth, Howard Pyle, and Norman Rockwell. All of this stuff somehow makes it into my doodles!
I believe those posters were the first published surf art I ever did. In the early 80s I was painting event posters for BMX races and some marketing folks thought my style would work for the infamous OP Pro event. That was one of my favorite gigs of all time. Sigh.
Can you give us a hint on what to expect from you art-wise during the SDSFF 2016?
There’s a crazy image that’s been rolling around my head that I hope to capture in a live mural painting right on the premises of the Misfit Pictures HQ during the course of the SDSFF. Plus there’s some sketches that have popped up which will be the basis for the SDSFF event poster. We’re producing a hand silk screened limited edition poster to commemorate the 5 year anniversary. What else? Funny you should ask… I’m working on a nifty logo for the 2016 SDSFF as we speak, I mean as we email.
The list of previous SDSFF artists is like a who’s who in the world of surf art. I imagine you gotta be bringing your A-game on this one?