Art Brewer
Art Brewer by Jeff Divine

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Art Brewer Photographer

In the language of images, the photographs of Art Brewer are known for speaking with penetrating truth, enlivened with an edgy wit. Photo Information: In the middle of nowhere, hoping to get a few waves on the south west edge of Australia at one of Wayne Lynch’s secret spots. 1978

But Brewer’s unique colloquial voice was 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 caught 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.

Art Brewer was born in Laguna Beach, California in 1951 and never abandoned the area, except to travel. Beginning in 1968 as principal staff photographer for Surfer magazine, his life was filled with journeys, most of them to the world’s vast panoply of islands, where he produced everything from journalistic coverage to celebratory location work. Meanwhile, his Dana Point studio (as well as innumerable de facto location “studios”) yielded an exhilarating range of portraiture and staged art pieces.

Brewer’s images have appeared in hundreds of magazines and books including the thirty six cover shots that adorned Surfer magazine. A self-taught photographer who once took a seminar from Ansel Adams, he circled the globe countless times chasing the world’s best waves and the surfers who ride them. Brewer was distinguished among his peers for his collection of surfer portraits; over four decades acting as court painter for the royalty and comrades of the global wave riding culture.

Throughout his 50-year career, Brewer saw 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 attracted large commercial clients, including Pepsi, Gatorade, SeaDoo, American Express, etc.

His work was celebrated in the extravagant 2002 coffee-table book, Masters of Surf Photography: Art Brewer (Journal Publishing.) In 2007, his images accompanied the text of Craig Stecyk III in the documentary and book Bunker Spreckels: Surfing’s Divine Prince of Decadence (Taschen Press.) In 2019, he was honored and inducted into the Surfing Walk of Fame in Huntington Beach, California.

The work of Art Brewer has been featured in several solo exhibitions including the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, CA, the Carpro Nason Gallery in Culver City, the Earl McGrath Gallery in New York City, San Jose Museum of Art, the Melbourne Beach Contemporary Museum of Art in Florida, the SVA Gallery at New York School of the Visual Arts in New York and Surf e Cultura da Arte Internacional I Mostra in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

With his passing in 2022, Brewer left behind a legacy that resonates in the world of surf photography and beyond. His timeless images not only captured waves but also the spirit of those who chased them, ensuring that his influence endures in the history of surf culture.

Photo Information: In the middle of nowhere, hoping to get a few waves on the south west edge of Australia at one of Wayne Lynch’s secret spots. 1978

Flotsam International Masters Of Surf Launch
2024 exhibition music panel

Flotsam International Masters Of Surf Launch

Fri, May 3

1:00 pm — 5:00 pm

Kirra Beach House

Flotsam International Masters of Surf Exhibition
free event
2024 exhibition

Flotsam International Masters of Surf Exhibition

Tue, May 7

9:00 am — 4:00 pm

Kirra Hill Community and Cultural Centre