Born and raised on the beaches of Southern California, surf artist Lauren Tannehill glows with love for the ocean, sun, and the simple pleasures of life. As a child, her two grandmothers taught her how to paint, and it’s been vibrant, abstract artwork ever since. After spending sometime on the island of Oahu studying in college, Tannehill returned to San Clemente where she started a family, and continued to pursue her passion for art.
Shortly after discovering Lauren Tannehill Art at the Supergirl Pro held in Oceanside, CA, The Surf Channel asked her a few questions about life as a surf artist.
How long have you been an artist?
Lauren Tannehill: I have been painting since I was a child. Both of grandmas painted and taught me how to paint. I can still remember watching Bob Ross paint “Happy Trees” with my grandma. I believe that everyone is an artist in their own way.
What are your favorite things to paint?
LT: I love to paint happy, bright and colorful things. I like to draw and paint so I have found a style that I can incorporate both. I love painting waves, I think that the shape and fluidity of drawing them feels really good. I like to keep my work simple because I feel like life gets so crazy sometimes, that it is nice to look at something in a simple form. It’s more relaxing in my opinion.
What is it like living in San Clemente?
LT: I love San Clemente! I always surf at San Onofre because it is the easiest with two kids. But I really like to surf Church and bodysurf at State Beach. There are so many waves and a lot of young families that love beach culture! My art has really taken off here in San Clemente. I feel really blessed to have the support of my community!
Tell us about your family.
LT: I have two daughters (one and five), my man, one dog, two cats and five chickens. Sometimes its challenging learning the balance of work and family, especially since I love what I do. My husband is really mellow, so he balances me out since I am so energetic! We love going to the beach and we dream of owning our own homestead by the beach one day!
How does surfing inspire your art?
LT: I LOVE the ocean, I love everything about it! Its always changing, its warm, cold, strong, calm. I find the saltwater to be very healing. My ocean time is the only time I take for myself, I don’t have to think about anything! I try to evoke all the feelings I get when I am in the ocean, through my art! It really guides my art.
What other artist do you look up to?
LT: The first artist I ever liked was Peter Max. He was unique, bright and bold, and I loved the organic fluidity of his lines. Then one day in Surfer Magazine, about 13 or 14 years ago, I saw Drew Brophy’s art. Then things started to make sense. I didn’t have to conform and paint things that looked real, they could be funky and still look cool. I still look up to Drew Brophy, he lives in San Clemente too and he seems to have mastered the business side as well as the creative side.
What is your favorite piece of art you’ve ever created?
LT: I have two… One is “Duck Dive”, it is of a girl who is duck diving under a wave and her hair is free and swirling around in the ocean. That piece I had in my head for a while before I painted it. Those always end up being some great pieces.
My other favorite is a piece that my oldest daughter and I did together. For obvious reasons, its so rad! She painted the background and I did the line work. It’s priceless to me.
What advice can you give to a young aspiring artist?
LT: I run a kid’s art program at Bull Taco in San Clemente every Wednesday night and I have some kids that actually think that they are not creative or talented. One of the most important things I tell kids is it’s not about being good, it’s about having fun. Sometimes we get so caught up in doing something well that we lose sight of what’s important, and that is to HAVE FUN and believe in yourself and everything else will fall into place!