Tag Archives: religion

Saints, sinners and surfers

Painted old school tattoo surfboards on City Beach

On a magnificent Saturday morning, brother photographer and I hit City Beach with a couple of boards for my very first magazine interview photo shoot… Couldn’t have picked a better morning for it, no?

Surfart on City Beach in Perth, Western Australia

Amongst the photography festivities, I noticed there was a lady out frolicking amongst the waves, who I thought was pretty darn keen, since it’s the middle of winter here. When we finished and were walking back up the beach, we passed the swimming lady, who asked if she could have a photo taken with Saint Calamari, because she’s Catholic and absolutely loved the board.

Now. I have to confess that even though I use religious imagery in my work, I’m not a religious person myself and so I figured that Saint Calamari would likely be considered dire blasphemy or at least distasteful by any card-carrying “religious” person. Through my chance meeting with Marianne, I found out that religious people are just people, with senses of humor and sometimes excellent tastes in art. Marianne was at the beach with her friend, Elizabeth, who happened to be an Anglican priest and another instant fan of Saint C.

What I liked most about these two ladies was how strong-minded and open they were about their beliefs and how they expressed them. When I made a crack about surfing being close to godliness, Rev. Elizabeth told me seriously that surfing can most certainly be considered a godly activity, one that teaches you the meaning of not being in control. I can believe that; I find surfing is like a meditation that clears your mind as well as your sinuses, and if there was ever a time to feel gratitude for God’s creation, it’s when you’re stoked and surfing a perfect wave.

Saint Calamari Surfboard with priest

Rev. Elizabeth finished up by giving Saint Calamari a proper and righteous blessing in a very impressive pulpit manner, at the conclusion of which we all chanted: “In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen”. It was awesome, I wish I had filmed it but I didn’t because I was all caught up in the moment. Instead here is a picture:

Ordination of Saint Calamari

I’m never likely to ride this board since he has now become not only an artwork, but one with supernatural religious powers. Nevertheless, I can’t help thinking that  maybe if I did wax him up and take him out in the wild blue depths, I’d be able to look up to the heavens, give a little nod, and a nice little left hander would be sent my way.

Check out some more of my brother’s mad surf photography and stunning macro shots here. 

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Filed under Art, Photography

Reach out and touch faith

When the surf is flat and the holidays are hell… who you gonna call?

Saint Calamari™ ~ Your Patron Saint of Gnarly Surf & Other Rad Miracles. That’s who.

Saint Calamari traditional tattoo style painted surfboard

The inspiration for this stirring piece can be seen in my highly scientific “thought cloud” below. It’s an amalgamation of the reference material that I used to create this modern Mexican Saint of Sick Surf.


I first drew a skull-headed octopus about 6 years ago when I was living in London and it had languished in its sketchbook until now, when I decided to dust off that idea and bring it back to the light of day with an extra injection of religion. Because, who doesn’t like religious kitsch?

Sketch of skull-ocotopus

Below I offer some compelling detail shots so you may bask in his holy glow.

The face of Saint Calamari with Dia de los Muertos decorations

Old school traditional tattoo roses and banner

Old school tattoo roses and tentacles

Skull with tentacles


Filed under Art, Dia de los Muertos, Surfing