Posts Tagged ‘Surf Story Vol 2’

Robb Havassy: All Access Pass

Monday, April 11th, 2011
Havassy at Sacred Craft Santa Cruz

Havassy at Sacred Craft Santa Cruz

The spacious meeting hall is filled with the hustle and bustle of the curious, the sage, and the uninitiate, there on invitations from various cognescenti in the Chinese marketing and fashion world, to view a first of it’s kind offering by a new American designer, and Surfing cultural icon, Artist Robb Havassy. The show is the unveiling of the Artist’s Lifestyle and Art based apparel line: Havassy!

The seating which wraps around the reflective stage fills, the lights go to spot, the music pumps up, and this video begins to show on the facade at the back of the runway. And in synch, Robb Havassy unleashes his take on Art and Popular Culture as his models ply the reflective runway sea that bounces the concept of surfing into the waters of Chinese Culture via fashion.

Preshow Fitting

Preshow Fitting

Sitting back in my office in Ventura California, Robb’s short and often somewhat cryptic notes, and telling photographs of the event were preceded by a question regarding Facebook in China. I e mailed him back that it was IP banned there, but I would post a few images for him from here. In the exchange of e mails that ensued, I frequently found myself smiling a bit, as I realized that the fruit of Robb’s several months intense work in Southern California designing the fashion line, were being captured in this show and communicated back to me in real time.

Head to Toe Havassy

Head to Toe Havassy

The affect was that of having been able to witness something historic. Seemingly out of nowhere, this young artist had birthed a culture based Men’s and Women’s apparel line aimed at, not his peers, but a burgeoning new market, that of the young and emerging Chinese youth, who he felt were searching for a vehicle to identify with. So Robb brought them surfing and his ocean, surf, and popular culture based art.

Hand Painted and Crafted

Hand Painted and Crafted

The emotions were palpable. The line had gone from concept in California to the runway in China, in approximately three months. That meant a LOT of creative and constructive energy being focused on a myriad amount of aspects regarding international marketing, finance, and fulfillment, in addition to the nuts and bolts of creative interpretation of Art, and implementing it into a fashion sensibility that would be both authentic, and appeal to the sensibilities of the Chinese Psyche. Big project. And as is often said the show was an overnight success.

Robb de la Sol

Robb de la Sol

 

But what many do not realize about the Orange County based artist, is that he has a deep background in Fashion. Robb has been in shows as a lifestyle fashion model, for some of the most well known designers in the fashion industry, and worked with the elite menagerie which accompanies that world. His close friends run major Corporations in the Action Sports based industry as well. He gets it. That is a critical understanding to have, as one moves forward in this sort of project.

Then there is the vast depth in his Art pursuits. Robb is incredibly prolific, and his art is rich with the flavor and sensuality reserved for those who ply the global waters of surfing, nature, love and life. His work exudes all of that. So does he. It is all intensely magnetic.

I met Robb in the course of contributing to Surf Story Vol 1, which is an iconic book of surf culture that has proven to define to the world, just what authenticity is in surfing. Robb simply invited everyone he knew to contribute a story or two, and some art or photography, and published it all in a book which he laid out personally and then self published as a Limited Edition. The Surf Story Project had been a success. In fact, Volume 2 is on the way and is proving to be an even more vast expression of the passion that is Surf Culture.

My last phone conversation with Robb, prior to his leaving, was regarding some significant yet unimportant aspect of the new and emerging company which would bear his name. Creating companies, especially ones which are innovative, requires the pangs of birth. Those are unavoidable. Having been involved in a  plethora of corporation building myself, it is easy for me to read the waters of new company formation.

The last of our conversation is below.

“Robb, stop worrying this. You need to relax, and as you settle in to your seat for the flight, realize that your job is to be the foking rock star Artist and icon that you are. That is what the Chinese want. You.” And we rang off.

At the end of a runway show is the finale. In the last walk, the designer comes out with their models in a final presentation to the world. The impression is always designed to be icon building in effect. Robb had glibly and unobtrusively mentioned something he had thought about doing for awhile. I had almost forgotten it. Till I saw this photo he sent. The looks on the models faces, the audience and Robb say it all to me.

Robb Havassy, rolling out his world and life: in China. Triumph.

Havassy Fashion Finale

Havassy Fashion Finale

 

In much the same manner as a wave, “Havassy!”, has come ashore in the original land of enchantment and innovation: China. Full Circle. I am not surprised that it took an artist to figure it out.

Fluid Emerald

Fluid Emerald

 

 

 

 

 

Fore

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
 Sculptural Elements

Sculptural Elements

This is number five in the series on Loves. It is actually entitled Four. (Really.) If you understand the play on words with the copy title “Fore”, well then, you “get” Art and Artists. That is a good thing. We like it when people get us. It is why artists do what they do. ART is our love.

Robb Havassy just left, after a 30 hour visit. When he had arrived, I was working through a series of images where I had been subtly taken by surprise at how the ocean had sculpted rather unique looking gems my Canon 5DM2 had managed to catch, while I happily and possibly very quickly, was ducking in to, or out of, a waterbash.  (reads: having fun)

Robb fronts a huge collective of people who have several things in common. The principle of which, is that they are artists, who comprise the cultural tableau that is Surf Culture. One of the interesting things to me about Robb is his surfboard collection. I have taken to calling them bastard children. 350 surfboard sculptures produced by a Corporation, to sit in mall clothing stores across the US.

The children are copies of a surfboard Robb had left at the home of a well know photographer and friend of his. As circumstances would have it, the board was left by Robb as a sort of gift to the photographer (along with a painting) and had been used in a shoot. Then later, copied “to a T”, and placed in stores to help brand and authenticate a company whose modus was “borrowing” from surfing to brand themselves, because in fact, contrary to surf theme inspired companies, this one was completely disconnected from surfing. They were a clothing company. They do not surf nor contribute to the culture. They take. That is their History. Robb’s experience was simply one of many examples the the Company’s branding modus.

Corporate Disclaimer

Corporate Disclaimer

Here is the funny part. On top of coming to Ventura to hang with designer Donna Von Hoesslin and I (creative sparks fly), work on Surf Story Volume 2 (which should publish late 2011), Robb was in town to pick up the first surfboard he had ever shaped, which was produced at the shop of Dennis Ryder.  (If you do not know about Dennis, you really should. Not only is he a historic figure in Ventura Surf Culture, but is a pioneer in surfboard design development.) But Robb was also getting another shaping lesson from me, and doing board# 2.

What got me excited, is that he brought two of the bastards up with him! I had never seen them. You see, Robb got those 350 surfboards back AND a small settlement in a suit against that apparel company. This was the catalyst for our meeting awhile back.

Robb and his bastard children.

Robb and his bastard children.

It had been the proverbial young David, taking on a sage old Goliath. Robb had used the proceeds to fund Surfstory Vol 1, his statement on the authenticity of Art and Culture. That is a done deal. But 350 bastard children remain in a storage unit in OC.

Robb, Donna and I, and now some of the leadership in Project Kaisei, have been brainstorming concepts whereby we may utilize the bastards,  which could really now be construed as cultural effluent, with faux fin boxes and foam gouges where the company logo was removed, and place some value back into the world with his collection of plastic trash.

This resonates with me because I have built close to 40,000 real surfboards. That translates to 40,000 people who developed a relationship with the ocean on something my hands and heart helped conceive. These mall store boards? Though replicas of Robb’s board, they were merely store fixtures, some even with leash plugs built into odd places, to be used for tie down points as the boards sat in malls, silent icons to materialism and faux lifestyle, whispering sweet lies to all who admired what they thought that the bastards stood for. The irony of this hit me instantly when first I heard about Robb. Surfboards are symbolic of people- surfers. They are meant to be magic carpet vehicles¬† to adventure in a watery wonderland.

We became fast friends of course. All of us.

But that is Art, and why Art, is one of my many loves.

Cosmos

Cosmos

Seth Godin has this to say about Art, Artists and Artistry. Simple brilliance. His Art inspires me.

Richard Lang is one of the many bright lights, who as an artist, is collaborating with us on Project Kaisei, plastics awareness, and changing the world through Art. Here is a fantastic video which illustrates how he and his wife Judith do that.

Art is for everybody and can be produced by anyone. Here is a great example of that.

The imagery below in the gallery is a small sample of a collection of refuse. I say trash, because I had overlooked these images in first edit of the collection I just built here in Ventura, California, in what may be a historic benchmark for the ocean this Jan-February, 2011.

I did not frame or intend to build these. They just happened as a result of an accord between perfect meteorological conditions, pristine ocean, and me swimming 57 times with my camera in 34 days. Spawn of my world.

Click on any of the images to toggle through as a slide show.  Foreward!

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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