Posts Tagged ‘Gaviota’

A Thanksgiving Story

Thursday, November 24th, 2011
Hobie Surfboards

Hobie Surfboards

A little while ago, at the behest and planning of artist Robb Havassy, I found myself at the home of film maker Bruce Brown. Though I tend to want to keep some aspects of my life private, this is something to share, as it is a story about the power of gratitude. November twenty fourth being the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S., it is especially appropriate, as thankfulness is in the heart of a Nation today. This little tale explains how it works, in the lives of my friends.

I met Bruce many years ago. He had rang me up out of the blue. His son, Wade and I, had worked together in my surfboard shop in downtown Santa Barbara. Yet our paths had never crossed. Bruce had asked me to come up and meet a writer on assignment for the NY Post, as they were doing a piece on him. He was so funny on the phone, that of course I said yes, and laughed for about ten minutes after we rang off. Not wanting to take any chances screwing it up, I had dragged my then assistant, Brian Nevins up with me. The portrait below was at the end of that day we would share at the Ranch and his home with writer Corey Levitan.

Film maker Bruce Brown

Film maker Bruce Brown

As my fiance, Donna Von Hoesslin, Havassy and I, sped up coast in the warm afternoon light washing the California Coast, Robb explained a film project idea that he was developing. Donna was craning to see if any of the multiple breaks that lie alongside the 101 on the Gaviota Coast were breaking, and I was quietly thinking about how special the people in my life are.

Gaviota Coast

Gaviota Coast

Robb loves to cook. Whenever he comes up to visit Donna and I, we usually let him. So part of his happy little plan, was Carne Asada del Havassy, and it was stashed in the car boot along with Vodka, a bottle of pretty special wine made by my friend and filming partner Rob Dafoe, and a few other sundry things for dinner.

The Speed 3 rumbled up the dirt road that led to Bruce’s home, Robb and I laughed. A big van emblazoned with Sanuk marketing wrap was parked next to the garage. Ha! It belonged to Wingnut, AKA Robert Weaver. We had just discussed him being in Robb’s project. Of course he was there. You could see what was coming in terms of our evening, as clearly as one would driving a long country road and happening upon a cross road.

As an image maker and Journalist I am highly cognizant of the significance of cross roads. They are pretty special when you look back on them with the benefit of retrospect. But nowadays, I cherish what comes at me via these very fortuitous moments in time. I pay attention to the traffic.

There we all were on the Gaviota Coast, and as golden fingers of light withdrew in leisurely fashion across the coastal scrub and the ocean took on mauve and amber tones, the stories flowed, and Bruce, his daughter Nancie, son Dana, Wingy, Robb, Donna and I shared stories, wine, laughter and the texture of our separate and collective lives. I will forever sit rapt at the feet of a great story teller. And I was surrounded by them.

As dinner wrapped up, none of us left the table. A lot of very rich and heavy sonnet ensued, and I swear I went from tears to laughter and back, several times before Bruce got up, only to return to the table with a sheaf of papers bound together. A hand made phone book of sorts.

“Hey have you talked to Hobie lately?” Bruce asked. “Ah no. I had wanted to interview him actually Bruce, but he has been having a pretty heavy battle with Cancer. I think he may be on Orcas Island.” (A lot was contained in what Bruce was doing. That man has the sharpest mind of just about anyone I have met. I swear he thinks in multiple dimensions. It is an ability which I have seen and found in common with many great creatives).

“Let’s call that foker up.”

I had been enlisted many years ago as an image maker for Hobie Sports Intnl and they had sent me all over the world. I have gotten to travel with Jeff Alter, Dan Mangus, Sean Douglas and a plethora of great athletes that today are a part of the lifestyle Hobie Alter created, which I truly view simultaneously as being descendent from my Hawaiian heritage, and having steered the development of contemporary culture. I constantly pinch myself when on our shoots, the ocean delivers repeatedly, experiences that are sort of mind blowing.

Bruce got Hobie on the line by the third ring I think. Without betraying the confidential nature of the conversation, I will just say that it was about gratitude. I listened as he thanked Hobie for everything he had done. From surfboards to boats to gliders and more. Bruce thanked Hobie Alter for introducing him to it all. And then he handed the phone to me.

I have surfed all over the world. I think that I have built maybe 40k surfboards in my life. I’ve sailed, swam, fished, soared, built and raced cars and bikes, and today I travel with cameras, and communicate what that life can look and feel like. I introduced myself to the gentle voice on the phone and gave a brief explanation of who I actually was: some guy who really is no different than any of us whose life revolves around the sea, and all I could think to say that meant anything was this: “Thank you. What you have done has made a big difference to me. I know you have been dealing with Cancer. How are you?” “Pretty good! I have to walk with a cane now. But I feel pretty strong. I think that I am going to be around for awhile”  “Really happy to hear that Hobie, I am going to hand the phone off now. There are some others here who want to talk to you.” And I said goodbye.

Auspicious moment, getting to talk to a man whose work created the platform for the things that bring joy and meaning to your life. Bruce knew what he was doing.

Then he called two more people. He was sowing seeds.

That is what we are doing today. All of us as we give thanks, are sowing to the future, in the honoring of the lives and memories of those who invested in their dreams, and pursued happiness. There is much to be said for that.

Here is a fantastic example by Photographer Giles Duly

Here is another, by  film maker Louie Schwartzberg.

Gratitude and Happiness are siblings.

You have to invite one in to get the other.

Happy Thanksgiving. Sow some seeds.



Gaviota Muse

Thursday, October 7th, 2010
Gaviota Muse

Gaviota Muse

Robb Havassy is up visiting right now. Yesterday, I got to introduce the publisher of the culturally iconic book Surf Story, to Joe Cardella, who among a long list of artistic accomplishments, was also the creator and publisher of Art Life, a leading collectible monthly publication. Joe’s stint at the helm was twenty five years long.

I smiled on the inside, as both of these amazing men, were people that Mary Osborne insisted that I meet. Mary rarely does that: insists. So, when she calls me, and then follows up, I know I had better pay attention. For over twenty two years, Mary has been my muse. We have  co- conspirited each other’s careers and colored each other’s life and creative vision. Now here sat Robb, Joe and I.

Mary Carmel Osborne

Mary Carmel Osborne

Robb was in town to speak with a few people about contributing to Surf Story Volume 2. Curiously enough, most of the artists cum surfers have connections to the Gaviota Coast and of course the Ocean. Joe, by virtue of his next large project after retiring as Art Life publisher was the first conversation, of what may be three days, awash in the influence of the people who live lives connected to the ocean here.

So it did not surprise me that Robb, Joe and I sat in one of the amazing rooms in Joe’s home and that the subject turned to that of the muse and their role in our lives. Plans were made. They involved muses. As we chatted about some of ours, and how they influenced us, my thoughts went from Mary, to the many people who have driven and continue to push my work.

Today I have a show that opens in Santa Barbara at Couch, with fellow artist Glenn Gravett. Here is the invitation.  It will be my first show in my home town in twelve years. Curiously enough that last show was with both Glenn and Rob Heeley in their gallery workspace on Canon Perdido.

Below is the description for the installation, which will be in place for a month.  Curiously enough, this show is all about one of my most significant muses, the Gaviota Coast. Two of the center pieces in the show are large nude illustrative compositions of both Mary Osborne, and Jeanette Ortiz, which were shot in two very significant locations on the Gaviota Coast, and carry deep resonance with the history of the Chumash tribes native to that coastline, and my own rich experiences under what I have been cognizant of experiencing in their footprints, and under their gaze.

The show was custom designed by Glenn and I, in collaboration with the artists at Pi Studio Printing. It was a huge group effort, and tonight’s opening should prove a great opportunity to experience quite a cross section of amazing artists on First Thursday in Santa Barbara.

Coastal Blossom

Coastal Blossom

Gaviota Nude

The modern day boundaries of the Gaviota Coast extend from Coal Oil Point in Goleta at the South, to the Northernmost location of Point Conception, which is the Westernmost tip of the Continental United States, and is also known as the Western Gate to the original occupants of this land. That was the spot where native legend has it, their souls would leave earth at life’s end.

The Gaviota Coast was originally populated by multiple tribes of Chumash natives.

As a part of the California Missions land acquisitions, which took that coast from the Chumash, was the largest Spanish Land Grant in the Continental United States: the land which became known as Rancho Dos Pueblos. Today a shrinking Rancho Dos Pueblos is still owned by the Schulte family, who for decades, in the tradition of the Californian ranch and land operator, have been faithful stewards.

In Memoriam. Rudi Schulte

In Memoriam. Rudi Schult

It was my good fortune to grow up along this coast. I have walked, swum, surfed, fished, dove and sailed every inch of it, in a massive triangle, which ranges from Goleta, out to the Channel Islands and up to Point Conception, and every point in between. I have photographed quite a bit of it over the years.

This show is a very limited look at, and homage to, the amazing spirit of this stretch of coastline.  If you take anything away from this collection,  may it be the understanding that the spirit of the Chumash people still occupies this place, and it should forever be treated with reverence and respect.

David Pu’u

Gaviota Campfire

Gaviota Campfire

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.