Composite Art

Disclaimer: A hypnotic state  may set in if you stare at this art too long…just kidding, stare away!
Disclaimer: A hypnotic state may set in if you stare at this art too long…just kidding, stare away!

These days we want instant gratification. We want food now, technology now and answers now. Surfers are no different. We want our wetsuits now, the surf forecast now and our new surfboard…yesterday. We often forget that our surfboards are hand crafted pieces of art that many artisans construct before it hits your hot little hands. Just because a shaper or glasser does production work, doesn’t mean they aren’t artists.

Recently longtime production surfboard builder Jeff Pupo decided to express his artistic side using the materials he is most familiar with…resin and fiberglass. He picked up his materials one morning from our Ventura location and came back that afternoon to show off his work and we thought it was pretty cool. We decided to call him up and find out a little more about this new project.

FGH: So what’s your background in composites? Just by looking at the colors and patterns of the pieces of art I can tell this isn’t your first time working with resin.

Jeff has worked on many of Gene Cooper's classic designs.
Jeff has worked on many of Gene Cooper’s classic designs.

JP: I just started doing those (resin art) pieces when I was working for Gene Cooper. I would just tinker around over there at his shop. I used to sand, gloss and polish for Gene. I’m actually over at Russell Hoyt’s shop, Hoyt Designs. That’s where I did those pieces.

FGH: How many years have you been in the industry?

JP: Umm…since 1989.

FGH: So you have been working on boards and with resin professionally for a while. What materials did you use to create these?

JP: I bought the 6 lb sheet foam. I used 4 ounce cloth over it with all of the various tints and pigments. I also used the polyester sanding and laminating resins too.

FGH: Oh, cool. I couldn’t even tell that there was a layer of 4 ounce unless you look closely.

JP: The 4 ounce cloth is actually wrapped over, then trimmed. I also put a layer of 4 ounce cloth on the back too with black pigment so it has a blacked out back. That way it’s all sealed up so it’s solid. I’m thinking about installing two leash cups in the back to hang the art.

FGH: That would be pretty neat because it would tie it all together with the surfboard theme. What made you want to get into the art game?

JP: Because I see how hard it is to make money doing boards. I can do my own boards but I don’t have a name like Cooperfish, Channel Islands or Rusty. So I figured why not do the art pieces?

FGH: That’s a good point. Where are you going to be showing your work?

JP: That I’m working on. I actually want to build 30 or 40 of them in different shapes and styles. You can make any shape you want out of that sheet foam.

FGH: That’s a great idea to use that foam instead of wood or canvas.

JP: I’m actually on my way over to Fiberglass Hawaii to pick up more materials and have them cut it there for me so I can fit it into my car. I’m going to make one for GeeGee so it will hang up in the Fiberglass Hawaii Ventura location.

FGH: That’s so cool! They’re going to be stoked on that.

This piece was created the same day as the green one at the top of this page.
This piece was created the same day as the green one at the top of this page.

JP: So that’s where I’m at right now. I just want to continue to build more of these and get a show together.

FGH: Ventura is a great place for this type of thing.

JP: Yeah there are so many places on the main drag.

FGH: So the construction is 4 ounce cloth on the back, 6 lb core foam, layer of 4 ounce cloth on the top that you do your color work on. Sounds like it’s going to be strong.

JP: It’s just like building a surfboard actually. It’s the same procedures. Glass both sides and it’s completely hot coated top and bottom.

FGH: It’s surfboard art disguised as traditional art. Very cool. Can’t wait to see the piece you are making for our shop in Ventura. Thanks Jeff.

Remember to tag #fiberglasshawaii in your various projects so we can share it with all of our locations and customers over social media. Below is the video profile we put together on Gene Cooper of Cooperfish surfboards. Since Jeff worked with Gene for many years we figured this would be a good little piece to tie into this blog. Happy building!