Monday, June 22, 2015

interview: ali kurzeja artist for akela surf

March 16, 2015

Ali Kurzeja Artist for Akela Surf

1- Tell us about yourself: Where are you from? Where do you currently live? Tell us about some of your hobbies and passions.
 
I grew up in the beautiful beach town of Sarasota, Florida where I became interested in art and surfing at a young age. My memories of turquoise waters and vivid green surroundings serve as great inspiration in my art. I enjoy painting nature and using colorful palettes that echo the feel of my coastal home. I studied illustration at Ringling College of Art & Design. Upon graduation I received the opportunity to work as a professional illustrator at a large studio in the Midwest. Having never seen snow, I was hesitant about the relocation. However, I decided to embrace the adventure and made the move to Cleveland, Ohio. I soon found myself amongst a small, but welcoming surf community on Lake Erie. I invested in a thick wetsuit and a snowboard for the off-season. I now spend my days creating colorful artwork, riding snowy hills, and catching chilly lake waves with wonderful newfound friends. I visit Florida often to recharge and soak up sunny days, and when I can't catch a flight home a hot yoga session will sometimes do the trick!
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2 - Tell us how you found out about Akela Surf and what impact it has had on you thus far? 
I found out about Akela Surf through Instagram. I stumbled upon Victoria Jones' beautiful textile design, which then led me to the brand's homepage.

Akela Surf has made a huge impact on my life! I worked at a beach shop selling swimwear when I was a teenager. I always admired the textile designs I saw in the store and dreamed of one day creating my own. Akela Surf has made that dream a reality!
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3 - What does art mean to you?

I believe art is an expression of one's self. Whether I'm creating art for myself or a client, my personality becomes interwoven with the project. In some ways, making commercial art is quite similar to making a sandwich. There are expected ingredients defining the structure, but the chef chooses particular spices, colors, and textures to add. In the same manner an artist interprets directions to create a design. My background and personal preferences have the opportunity to come into play and create something uniquely specific to me.
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4 Can you describe the feeling of drawing to us? 

Beginning a drawing and staring at a blank page can often be the most intimidating part of the design process for me. I tend to create multiple sketches on tracing paper, then cut and reposition layouts several times. Once I establish a composition and begin adding color I start to flow into the blissful state of creating.

5 - What are your future plans and goals?

I plan to continue creating artwork, with a focus on fashion/textile design, as well as fine art. I would also like to travel! I have seen so little of the world and would love to broaden my horizons, particularly to warm surfy locations!

6- Who and what inspire you?

I've always been inspired by my environment. My mother was an interior designer and filled our home with fresh orchids, tropical botanical prints, and my father's watercolor paintings. All of these components have subconsciously snuck their way into my work. I am also influenced by an eclectic group of artists, including Gustav Klimt, Alphonse Mucha, Bernie Fuchs, David Downton, Helen Dealtry, Annie Everingham, Luli Sanchez, Luki O'Keefe, and all of my talented studio mates in Cleveland! I would be remiss if I didn't mention Pinterest also!
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7 - What do you like the most about being an artist and surfer?

As for me, art and surfing go hand in hand. Sitting on my board, seeing the horizon blend into the sky makes me want to paint, and dipping my paintbrush into a palette of vibrant colors make me want to surf. I feel incredibly lucky to do both.


8- Anything you will like to share with us?
Yes! Please check out more of my art at: www.alikurzeja.com (and on my instagram account: @ali.kurzeja).

Interview conducted by Servio Anez. Photos by Audrey Tyler Jones.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

akela surf flamingo surf wear!

Here is my final design to be featured on Akela Surf 's 2015 summer line! I also included fashion designer Annie Gange's swim wear mock up. I can't wait to surf in it! Many thanks to Annie & Servio of Akela Surf! What a great team to work with!



akela surf flamingo print

I'm debuting my new flamingo and floral pattern for Akela Surf! It will be used on their 2015 summer line of surf wear and bikinis! I couldn't be more excited! These are my first color versions, soft and vintage inspired. More to come on the next post!

Mint Color version of my Akela Surf pattern.

Turquoise color version of my pattern featuring the Akela skull and surf fin logo amongst the flowers and flamingo.




Sunday, October 5, 2014

surf photo journaling

When I first moved to the Midwest, I was pretty devastated to leave behind the coast & beach culture I loved so dearly. Upon moving to Cleveland, I was enthralled to meet a small group of like-minded surfers. Yes, Ohioan surfers! We formed our own little community and The Wagner Surf Club was born. Each Spring we take an annual trip to Southern California to catch some waves and fill up on burritos. Below are a few photos I scrapbooked together of our escapades. More to come soon! All photos by moi, unless otherwise mentioned. To learn more about Cleveland surfers check out the award winning film, Out of Place.

Clockwise: 1. Yours truly getting worked (photo by Mike Lembke) 2. Desert flowers 3. Vince Labbe and his stylish ways 4. Cardiff By the Sea

Clockwise: 1. Miss Ali Kurzeja (photo by Marikate Workman) 2. Life Guard stand in Encinitas 3. Surfy Surfy window shopping 4. Succulents 

Clockwise: 1. Catching my last ride in 2. Marikate Workman and I about to head out 3. Ranuncula 4. Mk & I being kelp mermaid queens (all photos by Scott Ditzenberger, except the flower of course)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

roxy pro france


 Here is the poster I created for Roxy Pro France! Check it out on Instagram!


30!

I don't know how August 22nd snuck up on me so fast! Cheers to a new year with sweet family & friends!
I painted this little beauty in watercolor! Turquoise frosting for the birthday girl, please!

This is actually a vintage photo from Sarasota County's archival collection. I may have altered it just a tad for my purposes. ;-)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

parisian floral textile prints

Below is my textile collection I exhibited at last weeks's NYC Printsource show. I'm really happy with how they turned out!


pattern peek

Here is a peek at some patterns I have illustrated and designed in watercolor. More to come!




target neon florals

I illustrated & designed a series of nine cards for Target, inspired by the season's neon palette & fabric-like textures. Below are a few of my favorites. Hope you enjoy! Available in stores now!