Welcome to the left side of my brain! I started drawing as a kid when my dad would show me how to sketch cartoon characters and block letters on the back of paper restaurant place-mats. Growing up I was always enrolled in art classes and was constantly scribbling on notebooks, desks, you name it.
At 13, a friend and I rented a couple of those giant foam longboards from Ron Jons and we were hooked. All I could think about was the next time I’d get to surf and how one day I was going to live in Hawaii. During my senior year of high school, I remember having a Computer Skills class during 3rd period. Keep in mind this was before you could access the internet with your cell phone and everyone still worked on desktop PCs. It was perfect- I was able to get online, check the surf report, and if it was bad, I’d stay in school. If it was good, I’d leave and drive an hour to the beach.
After high school I attended college at Stetson University for a semester but then decided to go live on the North Shore with my surfer roommate for a few months. We never did get jobs there, as much as we tried, but got to surf many of the breaks and experience the typical North Shore winter scene. This is when I first started taking pictures. It became another hobby and I’d set little goals for myself, like today I’m going to ride my bike to Waimea to photograph the sunrise, and so on. After returning to Florida, I enrolled in photography classes at Daytona Beach Community College and worked part time at a pottery studio in New Smyrna Beach, where I lived and surfed. I had the opportunity to do a few freelance paintings in that town and loved the laid back lifestyle. I began creating a photographic product line with some of my Hawaii images and with the help of my father, an engineer and entrepreneur, I wholesaled them to surf shops through Surf Expo for 3 years. That year was when I began cultivating my passion for both surfing and art.
Later, I went on what I refer to as my “1 year internship spree”, which began by shooting for Orlando Style Magazine. I then used a free airline voucher to attend a National Geographic Adventure photography workshop in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where I met the Photo Editor, and later drove up to New York City to work as one of her photo research interns. From there, I drove up to Portland, Maine to intern as a photo editor for Aurora Photos, a stock agency.
After a few short term jobs, travels, and one long internship spree, I came to Michigan (where my family is originally from) and began college once again. I knew I needed to finish a degree, and chose communications because I enjoy researching and writing, and could take photography as a minor. The cold weather and lack of ocean were hard to deal with, and I needed a way to express my feelings. So I began painting again, but this time with soft pastels. Its’ funny- I feel like surfing is a part of me that will never die, even though I haven’t been in the water much since moving up north. Or, as Kelly Slater describes this phenomenon, “it’s like the mob or something”- once your in “there’s no getting out.” True story. The longing is always there. I express this by mixing vivid colors together to create waves using soft pastels, primsa color markers, and colored pencils.
People always ask me why on earth I’d move to Michigan and wonder why I haven’t left. Well, to honestly answer that question I have to say that perhaps God brought me here. I mean, I brought myself, but He must have had a part in it. This is where my real relationship with Jesus began, rather than living according to a set of religious rules. Since then, I’ve noticed my motivations are changing. What I mean is, for the first time, I have been able to build a new identity for myself that exists only in Jesus and is completely separate from the world, hobbies, careers, and all the other things that we cling to to feel complete. For the first time I found myself willing to give up surfing, because I didn’t need it to be “me” anymore.
Since graduation in the spring of 2013, I’ve interned once again, but this time at a non profit in Hawaii, doing community service work and studying the Bible. Currently, I work as a temp in Michigan at a ministry whose mission is to spread the word of God. One day I hope to use my art and photography background to help spread the good news of Jesus in some way. I’m not sure how that will all come together- but I suppose this blog is an attempt. I hope you enjoy surfing it.
Drop me a line to say hello @ firstname.lastname@example.org!
*All artwork and images copyright © Amy Hammond