Dana Point, California
Art & Soul
In the language of images, the photographs of Art Brewer are known for speaking with penetrating truth, enlivened with an edgy wit. But Brewer’s unique colloquial voice is also capable of a restrained grandeur evoking an iconic sense of “witnessing” that brings us to the forefront of our attention, alerted to something transcendent in each captured moment. As a subjective experience, his images thrill us with their presence, bring us somehow back into ourselves. This gift translates into powerful impressions that convey relevance and meaning that evoke and engage, bringing credibility, honesty, and intimacy to the vast array of subjects that catch his eye.
Schooled in the demanding world of surf photography, where the dynamics of the coastal and near-shore environment throw everything at you, from the daunting technical challenges of glare, salt, and movement to the physical challenges of personal danger and complex logistics, this arduous training ground built Brewer’s broad journeyman’s skill-set, which laid the foundation of his artistic expression.
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Art Brewer was born in Laguna Beach, California in 1951 and has never abandoned the area … except to travel. Beginning in 1968 as principal staff photographer for Surfer magazine, his life has been filled with journeys, most of them to the world’s vast panoply of islands, where he has produced everything from journalistic coverage to celebratory location work. Meanwhile, his Dana Point studio (as well as innumerable de facto location “studios”) have yielded an exhilarating range of portraiture and staged art pieces.
Brewer’s images have appeared in hundreds of magazines and books. A self-taught photographer who once took a seminar from Ansel Adams, Art has circled the globe countless times chasing the world’s best waves and the surfers who chase them. Brewer is distinguished among his peers for his collection of surfer portraits; over three decades acting as court painter for the royalty and comrades of the global waveriding culture.
Over his 40-year career, Art has seen his vast body of water images and beach portraits celebrated in numerous gallery showings and mainstream publications as diverse as Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Esquire and Playboy. His expertise and finesse in the realm of water sport photography has attracted large commercial clients, including Pepsi etc.
His work was celebrated in the extravagant 2002 coffee-table book, Masters of Surf Photography: Art Brewer (Journal Publishing). Recently, his images accompanied the text of Craig Stecyk in the documentary and book The Story of Bunker Spreckles (Taschen Press, 2007).
The work of Art Brewer has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, the Carpro Nason Gallery in Culver City, the Earl McGrath Gallery in New York City, and Surf e Cultura da Arte Internacional I Mostra in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
– Drew Kampion