Wave-riding and art have long been interconnected, with surfing itself often described as it’s own art form. Given that artistic expression has been something we have included in What Youth from day one, we do look for the various connections to what we are doing on a daily basis.
Whatever that is.
As is often the case, we stumble upon various creative outputs through our social media feeds. “10totwo” being the latest find. Yes, he has a proper name but he prefers to use his nom de plume. We’re cool with that.
We hit up Tentotwo with a few questions and requested some hi-res imagery of some of his latest works.
Hope you enjoy.
What Youth: We’re are you residing these days?
10totwo: These days I’m living in Calabasas, CA, on a little piece of heaven owned by the Hill family. The Hills are a great surf family that I’ve grown up with over the past years and who I’m close to. Mr. Hill had a long surf history in the area and his passion for surf, especially towards the end of his beautiful life, was such an eye-opening experience on a ton of levels. Mr. Hill really made sure his son and I – fuck the whole family – are always looking towards the ocean. They have, in a sense, taken me in as a member of their family and to honor them I’ve been helping them renovate the property, which gets me close to some fun spots. It’s important to have a place I can call home, where I can be myself and not give a fuck.
WY: Your art caught our eye for different reasons, but obviously, a “surf” influence is present. Can you give us some background on how you got into art and how the surf element fits in?
10totwo: I’ve always been intrigued by art and music. But honestly, when I was about 16, I had a rad teacher that threw my ass in the darkroom and slapped a camera in my hand, probably because I tended to make the classroom feel awkward. This pushed me and got me off the ground running. Early on, most of my work was shown photographically and also had a run of mixed media, which fucking sucked. I got bored with everything in the digital world, especially when I grew up making images by hand.
Over the years, as a photographer, I kind of point my camera naturally at whatever I’m into. Well, I’m really into the ocean, and I want to make sure people around me are aware of that. My art you are currently seeing is me completely letting go. As photographers, we are always living in a rule of thirds kind-of-life, and this is me fucking throwing that world apart. The LA surf scene has such a feeling and the way it looks in person with insane sunsets. But if you look just to the right you will find your local homeless dude taking a shit in the bush and a Prius running over the back of Lance Armstrong-looking bike crews. For me, there’s a way to dive into the past and find things to look at that are a little easier to enjoy. Trying to do like Mr. Hill said, “look towards the ocean.” Maybe if we all stopped moving through life so quickly, we would notice more of the things we’re likely to miss. This moment of chaos we have found ourselves in is just another wake-up call that we need to slow the fuck down!! My reference to surfing in my pieces is a friendly reminder to take in the slow times and enjoy the finer things.
WY: Any significant influences/artists that have inspired you over the years?
10totwo: Fuck, for me, it’s Jeff Ho. Dude in my eyes is a legend but it’s rare to see him sitting in the water these days for a ton of reasons. Jeff’s art, in and out of the water, has always been such a massive influence on me.
WY: Super interesting medium you are working with, can you explain the process?
10totwo: I start by printing a ton of my prints and laying them out. I get inspiration from the music I’m listening to or situations that are going on in my life. Then I start tearing each image apart and looking at different points in each one and kind of making a new world. I like taking photographs of certain places and making them seem there but also kind of lost at the same time. It’s like that never-ending search we are all on, surfer or not. After taking images and making a collage out of them, I add texture to them. I want it to feel like you might have picked it up on the side of the porch after a few weeks of some LA grim.
I love how in the street art world, it’s common to see something that has repeated itself, and I think it’s great. It’s almost as if they’re saying wake up, hear us. So that’s why I add words to my pieces, making the “think” within the chaos. Recently, I’ve teamed up with a classic glass bender, and we have been making mini neon signs. The light is a blast to add to my pieces, making them functional. Let’s see what the fuck I’ll come up with. I think I answered the question.
WY: Where are you in your career path these days? Have you been doing any art shows or other presentations?
10totwo: I just try to keep a camera in my hand as much as possible. I am a freelance photographer in both the moving and nonmoving world. Love them both equally. Over the past year, my art has been making moves to the front of my path, and its fun. I truly put my all into my art, and for someone to like it, fuck that’s neat. This year so far, up until some fish coughed on that dude and he’s all fuckin 19 and shit, I had a few really good shows with a body of work I had made. But this current work that caught your attention that I’m making is called “Time Capsules / Take two a day.” I started it the day that everyone went into Lockdown in March, and I hope to be able to show it. But in the meantime, I will just keep making new art.
WY: Obviously the internet and social media give artists an opportunity to get their work out there, how are you working those access points to present your work?
10totwo: At first, I hated the internet and social media. I started to change that mindset because of one of my old bosses. They would often say as an artist, it’s necessary to always adapt to the tools we have and adapt to what is in front of us. The interwebs are an excellent spot for art. It’s like the world’s largest, never-ending wall space. If you make something and want to put it out there for others to grab a feeling, that’s the place to do it. So I do love it. I enjoy looking at images and art and always seeing new things and finding new music the webs provide. If you just make sure you curate your feed, its like having the best surf/art mag in the palm of your hand. I’m only 37, but I grew up in a time where you had to wait for that shit to come out or to have to page a person to get the mother fucker to call you back. As an artist, social media is an opportunity to put yourself out there. I think it’s one of the best tools in the box.
WY: Anything coming up we can help promote?
10totwo: Well, I’m making 19 of these things. Then I will hopefully be doing some shows. I just started working on this, but because of the state we’re in, I’m def talking with a few folks. Mike Sordid (from the Bandit) and I are planning another art show/ punk show. We have done one that was rad, so we are planning another in the Los Angles area. I’ve also been talking to my good friend Cory Whitlock, and we will have something for sure down in Oceanside at his spot RW Surfboards. Fuck you guys want to do something?
WY: Given the surf elements, we assume you surf as well. Can you give us some background on that? Fav spots, surfers, etc.?
10totwo: I started surfing around 99-2000. I had a super rad friend and his whole family that were really into it. They introduced me to this crazy world, and I never stopped. I’ve had the opportunity to surf some fun places along my path, and some of my favorite waves are in Central America. Also, I love Malibu, everyone should go. Ha. I love surfing the coast and usually can find me somewhere between Ventura and the sea of Cortez ;-) But seriously, I’ll surf anywhere. I’m just happy to surf and have as much fun as I possibly can.
WY: We see some commercial opportunities for sure. Are you working with any brands to feature your art?
10totwo: Currently, I am not working with any brands on this series. I just got thrown into this crazy dream thing that I honestly have no clue what is going on. Fuckin so confused? I know I am going to be happy when things start to move just a little. The beginning of 2020 was crazy busy, and I only had time to create piece by piece. With this added time and space, I’m able to make a series without expectations of a client or a time crunch. It’s been nice to make things completely cut free.
Fuck, I’d be stoked to explore more commercial opportunities, especially if a brand aligns with my visions. Let’s get weird!
WY: Last thoughts?
10totwo: Look, people, shut your TV off. Be present even in this stuck way of life right now. For me, it’s my art, it’s my voice, and my feelings. Find yours. Maybe this could be some sort of a new start. Maybe more people will want to talk to each other and realize they are enjoying things for a minute. Instead of bitching about everything all the time, others need to take off their mask. It will feel good to smile, and we will appreciate the sun on our skin and a smile from a stranger. And look, I think Mr. Hill had it right “move slow look towards the ocean” Keep making shit.
WY: Awesome. Well said. Good luck with everything.
Website – 10totwo.com