Many have compared surfing to painting on a canvas, so perhaps there’s a reason a lot of artists surf (or so many surfers are artists).
Radmer Lenasch is one such artist drawing inspiration from the waves. From Pumula on the KZN’s South Coast, Radmer’s masterpieces have caught our attention so we hit him up to find out more…
Where do you surf, what you ride, and are you a goofy or natural foot?
As a traveller, I have enjoyed surf all around the world. Being back home now, I mainly surf the points and banks nearest my front door. Having travelled, my idea of my front door has now grown to include the whole KZN South Coast. I started surfing on a single fin, followed by everything else. At the moment, I have been surfing on a 6’2 thruster that I bought second hand from a Buddhist Monk named Jampal. It goes like Zennnnnnnn. I love to switch ride, but most of the time, my left foot is naturally forward.
Tell us a little bit about your art.
I see the waves in everything. This reflects in the texture and content of the art I produce. Whether I am painting the human form or the landscape, there is always a current of energy that I wash through my compositions. From water to wood grain, from the mythical human condition to the well timed break in the clouds. To me my art represents to me the momentum in all things. So you could say that this work is an exploration of, and tribute to, the elemental – on an existential level.
I only started drawing at 21. M first attempt at painting was a portrait of Jimi Hendrix in acrylic. I was living in Cornwall at the time, and exchanged the painting for a HIC shortboard that I took to the Canary Islands.
From where (or from whom) do you draw your inspiration?
The process of painting is my inspiration. To arrive at a canvas, and to have made the time to paint, to then mine the imagination and celebrate form and meaning in everything. As far as my visual content, nothing is more inspiring than nature.
What art do you mostly identify with?
I’ve created my own identity in art. As a self taught artist, I have never needed to navigate through styles of art. My art just happened naturally. Having said that, I do identify with surrealistic art. I appreciate honesty and true emotion, and I really love art that stretches realities to contain the vastness of meaning and feeling.
What are your favourite mediums?
Oil on stretched canvas or wood. Oil paint is serious. I know other mediums quite well, but nothing is as bold or powerful as oil. You have to commit.
What kind of projects do you like working on?
I love working on commissions, especially wave painting commissions. It is more personal. We all have those amazing surf shots of our favourite days. I like to take those images and do my version of the memory on canvas, in oil. Besides this, I am experimenting with murals and collaboration. My wife is also an artist and we have an event called Art-Go-Round which allows us to collaborate with other artists from around the world.
Do you have a favourite work of art?
My favourite work of my art is Caught Inside, painted in 2010. My favourite work of art by another artist for today is a painting, from the Submerged series by oil painter Erica Craig.
Do you have any exhibitions planned?
Yes. Many. I am working on a series of oil paintings that are based on a short story I have written called: Surfing Samadhi. I am still looking at a venue for sometime this year in Durban, and then hope to travel with the exhibition. We also have another Art-Go-Round event this year, and I hope to have a solo exhibition of my Source paintings.
Where can people see more of your art?
What is your dream project?
I would love to travel to the world’s most epic surf spots, famous ones and unchartered ones, and paint them in oil as I experience them on sight. I would document the whole journey including the nature and culture of each place, and the development of each painting. The whole thing would come together as an exhibition and coffee table book. I believe beauty inspires respect and awareness. I want to grow our world’s appreciation of our sacred coasts with my art. I am fully inviting sponsorship by anyone to do this. Hint hint…
Who is your favourite artist?
Locally: So many! Sakhile Mhlongo, Dee Donaldson, Nivesh Rawatlal, Tatum Robinson, Malcolm Swift, all Artists. Much respect
Internationally: Too many to choose, so blessed, I love them all for different reasons.