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Shark Sugar artist David Macomber

There's no doubt that the ocean serves as a source of inspiration for many people.  So when I had the opportunity to interview David Macomber an artist and surfer from Cape May New Jersey, I jumped at the chance to learn about his form and how he channels his ocean inspiration. 


sealaura : Do you have a favorite time to photograph? 
Typical early morning and late afternoon has the best light. When I'm shooting surfing here on the east coast there are not many days with bright sun and big waves. We usually get our waves during storms, so it is tough to get great light.

sealaura : When did you learn to surf? 
When I was in 8th grade, I had a friend who's grandparents owned a hotel right on the beach.  We would go there and use binoculars on the roof to check where it was breaking the best. Also, we could keep our wetsuits and boards in the basement and eat for free in the restaurant. It was a pretty sweet set up.

sealaura: What is your favorite surfing destination?
Poverty Beach, Cape May NJ. It's my home break. Heavy shore break barrels. Also, it's a secret spot everyone in NJ knows about. But I'll probably upset some local for telling you about it. 



sealaura : Atlantic of Pacific?Atlantic is home and Pacific (in certain spots) is clearer. But Atlantic is my home.

sealaura: Do you have any artists that have influence your work?
Drew Brophy is an inspiration, not necessarily with his art but with his work ethic. He's an East Coast boy with blue color values working in the California surf scene. I got to hang out with him once in his studio and we really hit it off. Also, Jeff Canham for his lettering skills. David Carson for his use of photos and text in design and art. My uncle, Ed Macomber for his use of bright colors and turning me on to "thalo blue".   

sealaura :You spent a few years in California studying design,  did your time in California influence your work? 
 Well my art is deeply influenced by graphic design. The combination of photos and the text - it's basically what I do as a graphic designer just removing the computer. As for "California" influencing my work... I guess the idea that you can "make it" as an artist (in whatever field) is the California dream. I think living on the East Coast, that dream isn't accepted or promoted as much.

sealaura: What is the difference between the surf scene in Cali in contrast to the East Coast?
I hate making generalizations about anything, because I personally know exceptions on both coasts. Also, I've only been exposed to the Southern California surf scene. But i feel there is much more emphasis on "style" in California - looking and dressing the part. Where as in NJ, a lot of guys get up and paddle out when there is snow on the ground or when there are cops on the beach arresting people for surfing during hurricanes. There is more of a focus on function (and staying warm) then style.  

 sealaura: How did you develop your method of mixed media?
All my life I've had a lot of interests and I can never just focus and excel at one thing. So, this current style is a culmination of all these things I've tried and didn't quite... master. But I think it's working and I'm having a lot of fun putting all the styles together. 
sealaura: Have you gone through different artistic periods?
Oh yeah. Definately. I get bored easily and am constantly experimenting with different elements. Although right now, I'm still trying to explore different ideas creatively yet staying within a distinct style. So when people see my work, they can say.. "oooh, that's the sharksugar guy.." 

sealaura: How would you define your artistic style?
(I had to google that. I wasn't sure how to answer this question) I use surf inspired photos mounted to found pieces of wood, mixed with words and graphic elements to tell the story of surfing and ocean lifestyle. 


sealaura: Could you talk about your latest pieces and what you are trying to achieve with them?
Cool question! I have two things I'm working on right now - 1 big and 1 little. The big thing is these 8 foot wooden letters that I am cutting, painting and photographing. The thought is, instead of painting words on top of the photos, I want to add the words into the the photos. The letters are done, now I am just waiting for some swell to get some decent surf photos. The small thing is my wife is making jewelry out of shrunk down versions of my art work. I am pretty excited about both projects and they should be coming out within the next month. As for what I'm trying to achieve with them - I'm continuing to expand the ways I express myself creatively. What I am try and express with my art? I want to tell the story of surfing and remind people the importance of living a good life.
If you would like to check out more of David's work, head over to his blog Shark Sugar.  You will not be disappointed, when I first checked out David's photography I felt like I was on a board myself paddling out.  His shot labeled "Hurricane Irene" is incredible click here to see what I mean.  As a California girl I was definitely interested in seeing what an artist from the East Coast would portray and I think I have found a new favorite.

4 comments

Amanda Hill said...

Really quirky cool!

Ms. Givens said...

HI. I love this! Love the name of his business. Love that he has good things to say about my favorite, the Atlantic and that he is so honest.
I blogged about Stillwater a little today.
Thanks for your lovely words on Friday!

Cindy Whitehead said...

Love your interview Laura - I am now a fan of Shark Sugar!! xo

becky said...

Super post!!!