Bob shapes a Stepdeck for James to paint

Bob shapes a Stepdeck for James to paint


Photography by Lockie Marley, Matt Ireland and Hunter Thomson

Filmed by Lockie Marley, Edit by Lincoln Caplice

The latest 'Art Board by...' series features one of our favourite Australian artists, James Ettelson. We reached out to James and to our delight he jumped in his van, headed North and in no time, he was working away with Bob in the shaping bay - a 7’6” Stepdeck was to be his canvas. “Even though I surf every day, I always said I’d never paint surfboards. But this was a good opportunity with Bob McTavish, he is an icon.”

Unlike the fast-paced nature of our previous artists like Thomas Campbell or Dave Carson, James' approach was something that evolved over a number of days, with each layer bringing new depth to the unmistakable markings of his work. “It’s kind of inspired me to do similar stuff, like have more space in my paintings”. It was a pleasure to see this work take shape and it's something to be studied close up, It’s absolutely stunning.

“I had no idea he was a great waterman. Not the kind of Hawaiian big-wave charger waterman.  No. A man who flows like water through life. Can’t you just see that in his art? Calm movement, soft but constant progression, reflection, refreshment, and simple beauty. His art guarantees the same feelings of sitting by a river, or wandering at low tide along your favourite beach. That’s how he was in my shaping room, and I hear from some mates that that’s how he surfs too! Fluid, stylish, enhancing the waves beauty. A waterman indeed!” - Bob McTavish.

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