You should know about Thomas Campbell one way or another. Alongside Ozzy Wright (and a handful of others) the guy has pretty much been responsible for bringing “Art” to our modern sport of surfing. A surfer, a skater, a filmmaker (Sprout, the Seedling, Present) An artist, writer, publisher, music producer and on and on. The guy doesn’t stop producing work, he’s creative 24/7!
In 2014 he was invited to Byron as the Recipient of the ART PARK / ATLANTIC Artist in Residence program, it had been many years since he had even been to the Bay and it was a very cool thing to have a guy like Thomas in our midst. In a sense, the surf scene in Byron Bay had been influenced by him in so many ways.
A matter of fact cat and not easily impressed, Thomas’s eyes lit up when I said: “Hey do you wanna meet Bob McTavish?” “Hell yeah Man!” He said, and off we went. Within 10 excited minutes of meeting each other they decided to create a board together (which turned into 4!). Both men were tech talking about asymmetrics and mod logs, but eventually, Thomas decided that he would love Bob to shape a classic 60’s Vee Bottom and he would art it up.
Two boards were shaped and Bob confessed that they were the first he had done “totally period correct” for 47 years. Deep Vees, Huge fins and big Concaves.
A few days later Thomas walks into the spray room empty handed, mixes his colours and goes to work only stopping once or twice to ask Bob a 60’s culture question that he weaves into the art. His fluid free-form paintings are loose but loaded with lots of detail and always a nod to surfing’s cool history. Final touches were some heavy pencil work (to trap resin) and choosing the subtle shade for Billy to glass the board and of course the gigantic skeg.
Thomas’s Byron Bay art show was days later and a huge east coast crowd rolled into town and dug the original paintings, ceramics, photos and sculptures. The first Vee Bottom was quickly snapped up by someone with cool taste and whisked away but fortunately for us, board 2 stays permanently in our town for all to see. Thanks T.C. come back and create soon