Riding The Waves Has Never Been So Inspiring – Meet Veerle Helsen And Her New Book ‘Surf & Art’

Meet Veerle Helsen – a travel and architecture journalist who’s passionate about surf, photography, food and design.

After taking a sabbatical in 2018, traveling solo in a camper along the sunny coasts of Spain and Portugal, she decided to quit her job and dive deep into the ocean of freelance writing. And today Veerle is inviting us on an anything but ordinary journey through her new book ‘Surf & Art’.

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More info: Veerle Helsen

After her bestselling travel guide ‘Surf & Stay’, Veerle Helsen is launching a new book called ‘Surf & Art’

Image credits: Veerle Helsen

Image credits: Veerle Helsen

Image credits: Jonty Storey

Image credits: Veerle Helsen

“I am super stoked and beyond proud to announce the birth of my third baby: ‘Surf & Art’! After two editions of ‘Surf & Stay’ (over 20,000 copies sold) I considered it was time for something else,” Veerle shared the exciting news on her social media.

“‘Surf & Art’ is the world’s first book on contemporary surf artists. From watercolor to digital illustrations or classic paintings: get inspired by their techniques and how they turn surfing into art,” she added.

The book launch is scheduled for the 24th of May, in Veerle’s apartment, in Ostend, Belgium. There, people will also find a pop-up exhibition, ‘Surf & Art’, where, besides the book, some artworks will be for sale too. Then, on the 26th of May, the same exhibition will travel to Antwerp – ‘Surf & Art’ will be part of this year’s Surf Film Fest by @havensurf.

Veerle Helsen already knows the taste of success due to her previous bestseller book called ‘Surf & Stay’, which came out in summer 2018. “Take your passion and make it happen. It’s what I did in 2018 and I’ve never been happier. It’s like the pieces of my ridiculous complicated puzzle finally found each other. And of course there were tears. But salt adds flavor,” Veerle shared her thoughts after a year on Instagram.

“I used to have a fixed position as a journalist for a prestigious news magazine in Belgium. When I was 35 I took a surf sabbatical in a camper. I traveled along European surf coasts for 9 months and wrote my first book about that trip, ‘Surf & Stay’. It’s a surf and travel guide collecting surf spots but also places to eat or sleep, things to visit. And architectural gems, since I’m a design journalist. When the book came out, I quit my job and ever since I’ve been freelancing. I write about travel, surf and architecture/design for several magazines,” – explained in the interview for Bored Panda Veerle.

The book invited readers to discover hidden salty gems of 7 regions: Cornwall, West Flanders, South Brittany, La Côte Basque, Cantabria, Tenerife and Alentejo.

Her new book ‘Surf & Art’ started from an illustration that Veerle bought from Portuguese artist Lizzy back in 2018

Image credits: Veerle Helsen

Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.

Image credits: Veerle Helsen

Image credits: Veerle Helsen

Image credits: Veerle Helsen

The idea for ‘Surf & Art’ is connected to Portugal: “When I was making my first book I discovered Lizzy’s artwork in Portugal. I bought something small from her and this was my first piece of surf art. It’s a woman graciously longboarding in a pink sea. I think this was 7 years ago and I still have it in my house. Ever since I have been collecting from surf artists. After two editions of ‘Surf & Stay’ I thought it was time to make a book about another passion of mine. I don’t think anyone has ever done it before. Most books about ‘surf art’ focus on photography,” shared Helsen.

“This book is a tribute to surf artists worldwide. To how they capture the essence of surfing and translate it to canvas, paper or digital spaces,” she added.

The selecting part was happening organically: “I started with a few obvious names, like Jean Jullien or Quentin Monge, Jonas Claesson. I interviewed every artist and asked them ‘who cannot be missing in a book about surf art’. And that’s how the list kept growing. In the end we had way too many names, I could have easily filled a second book. I just chose the ones that I like and I think this is the visual ‘glue’ in the book. Graphic design is done by Antwerp based agency MAFF, who also did my other books. We won a prestigious Henry Van de Velde Award for ‘Surf & Stay’, in the category graphic design. ‘Surf & Art’ has the same dreamy, musing vibe. I think surfing is the best feeling in the world and I’m hoping the book can take you to the ocean.”

Asked about the most special moment in the entire process of the book, Veerle started to laugh and said: “Honestly, making a book is really hard work. It takes a loooooooooot of time. So my favorite moment is when it arrived :)”

“I was traveling and surfing in San Vicente de la Barquera, my favorite place in Northern Spain. My publisher sent a copy to some friends in a local surf shop and they called me in when I walked by after a surf session. This was really the best moment! This is something I’ve been working on for over year. You’re always worried how it’s going to turn out or you feel fear of making wrong decisions in terms of colour or paper… but I was in love from the moment I saw the cover. I really really love the cover, artwork by Jonty Storey in Wales. I didn’t know him actually, his name was a tip I got from Fabian Lavater.  That’s a wonderful thing about this book; the artists kind of made the selection themselves,” added Veerle.

The new book ‘Surf & Art’ connected 23 artists from all around the world

Image credits: Eric Abel

Image credits: Jonty Storey

Image credits: Taisiia Kordiukova

Image credits: Nina Brooke

Watercolor artist Johny Vieira from Santa Cruz, Portugal, is also participating in the book. It was an unexpected yet truly beautiful surprise for him: “I still hadn’t had the chance to meet Veerle Helsen in person, but one day I woke up with an email from her telling the idea of a book about surf and art, gathering different contemporary artists around the world. She wanted to feature my work in it, I stayed super excited with the idea and that’s how we connected.”

Johny had a chance to showcase 4 of his artworks. “I chose the ones that I was resonating the most with in that moment, but for different reasons,” the artist explained to Bored Panda.

“The 1st one is called ‘Surfbless’ (a woman on a longboard with an abstract wave). I like this one technically, the contrast of the definition in the figure with the abstract of the wave. The 2nd one is ‘Daydream’ (a pair of empty waves breaking in the middle of the jungle). Daydream is a place that doesn’t exist, it’s one of many attempts to capture a familiar surf scene that frequently visits my dreams. I often find myself in a place where there’s no human trace, free from noise and visual clutter. It’s a peaceful feeling, a silence that goes through the veins and makes me feel good.

The 3rd one is ‘Jared’ (a surfer making a hangfive in black and white with orange sun). This one I like due to the movement that I was able to express: surf is all about movement, nothing is totally quiet, and it’s a challenge I like to have in my painting process. Also, my favorite color pallet is just sepia, so I wanted to show it to the world. And the last work is called ‘Freedom’ (a small surfer in a big blue background). For me freedom is about the feeling of freedom (No way?! Ahah) that surf brings us while we ride a wave, simple and beautiful as it is,” shared Johny.

Asked about how art is connected to surf, he told that art allows us to express and create, therefore the connection comes when a human being has the desire or need to express his passion or admiration for surfing. According to the artist, surf by itself is also an art form: “It’s a dance of nature, between the surfer and the wave of energy, coming from thousands of kilometers away, that vanishes at the shore. A huuuge live installation, where even the moon is collaborating in it.”

“The ocean affects a lot of people’s life in different beautiful ways, so I admire that so many people paint, draw, write, photograph to express their feelings and visions about the ocean,” added Johny.

From watercolor to digital illustrations or classic paintings – this new book celebrates surf art

Image credits: @drivemetotheocean

Image credits: @drivemetotheocean

Image credits: @wavesbyjohny

Image credits: @wavesbyjohny

Veerle Helsen is not the only one seeing the connection between art and surf. When I moved to live in Costa da Caparica, Portugal, I had a wonderful chance to discover a local brand called FLOW.ART.INK and their famous ‘Escamoso’ fish with a surfboard or the sun riding the wave.

A foreign couple, Alex and Cezar, who are the ones behind the concept, find constant inspiration in the ocean and surfing since they live very close to the beach.

“I decided to try to do more design with no colors, and wanted to create a character with the local vibe. This is how I created ‘Escamoso’. For me, he represented the lifestyle of Caparica. He became an artistic fusion between fishermen and the local surfers. Important to add that he is not a sardine, but a carapau fish,” explained Cezar.

Asked about what the art means to him, he told Bored Panda that it’s the most important part of his life and how he expresses himself: “Art moves me and makes me feel alive.”

Veerle Helsen couldn’t include all the artists she wanted, therefore hopes that she will be able to do so with the 2nd book edition

Image credits: @flow.art.ink

Image credits: @flow.art.ink

Image credits: @flow.art.ink

Image credits: @flow.art.ink

As Veerle Helsen beautifully describes in her book’s intro, discovering the artists “will bring you drops of wisdom in waves“. Together with the author, I hope this book will simply take you to the ocean where you can experience that blissful feeling of the vast blue mixed with golden sunbeams.

The post Riding The Waves Has Never Been So Inspiring – Meet Veerle Helsen And Her New Book ‘Surf & Art’ first appeared on Bored Panda.
Source: boredpanda.com

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