Rick Rietveld was the man behind the scenes for the Maui and Sons
apparel line in the 1980s, and has become an icon in the surfing-art subculture. He is recognized worldwide as one best known surreal artists and continues to maintain a balance of surf/work creativity in today’s surf culture.
At what point in your life did you become a true artist and what got you started?
My Mom is an artist and since I can remember I used to watch her draw and paint and was in awe that she could create incredible artwork with just a pencil and paper. When I was 10 she would take me to sidewalk art shows to sell her work on the street. I would sit at a table next to her drawings and paintings and sketch cartoons of all kinds of things like crazy Hot Rods and surfers riding waves, etc. People started to notice my artwork and offered to buy a few of them! The idea that I could make money drawing wacky stuff got me hooked, so I was into it early on. I was blessed and fortunate to have a Mother who encouraged me and never stopped telling me that an art career was an honorable pursuit.
What influence did surfing have on the canvas?
I was into surfing images before I learned to surf. The first dollar I made at the sidewalk art
shows was used to buy a Surfer magazine in 1967. In fact, I just bought the same issue at a
collectibles show. As soon as I saw it on top of a stack of old surf mags, my mind went back
to the day when I first saw it at a surf shop. The cover was a cool shot of Dickie Moon going
left at Blacks taken from the La Jolla’s Scripps pier. In case you’re curious, it was Volume 8, Number 5, 1967. I memorized every word and picture and copied most of
them in pencil and paint. After I learned to surf, it became my mission to translate the euphoric feeling the ocean and surfing gave me into a visual that others
could actually feel as they looked at it. I’m still trying different techniques but it’s a challenge to paint