Josh Hoyer: The Man Behind The Coffin

Josh Hoyer is a lot of things. He’s a surfer, an artist, a thinker, a creator, and a destroyer. He is lazy, apathetic, misanthropic, thoughtful, excited, honest, and surprisingly charming. He gets called weird a lot, as well as dark, depressed, and morbid, but those labels are thrown around more because of his penchant for death metal, skulls, and horror movies than his actual demeanor. Josh has come to terms with the darkness of the world despite the light that glares through his window every morning which he has just covered with curtains he made and speaks excitedly of, listing them as one of the few things in his life that he cares about.

I recently sat down and talked to Josh in his dimly candle-lit, skull adorned room where he gave me shit for not knowing how to work my tape recorder and I gave him shit right back for his obsession with all things Discovery Channel. We talked about surfing, drinking, death, and art, and he showed me some of his projects including the miniature coffin he is constructing. Take a look at it, as well as some of his other art, and read more about the self-proclaimed “photo slut who someday hopes to have a full size coffin to take naps in.

If you weren’t a professional surfer, what would you want to be doing?

Nothing. That’s why I like doing this—cause I don’t have to do anything.

Do you have any responsibilities?

In surfing, I have responsibilities to my sponsors to go to certain events, not so much contests, but promotional events. They don’t really expect much of me. Just that I’m out surfing, going on some trips, and coming up with a few photos.

You’ve said that you view surfing for yourself primarily as a job. Elaborate on that. Do you still enjoy surfing?

Yeah, I enjoy surfing sometimes. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s a pain in the ass. The whole job thing is like basically all I do is surf and that’s how I make money, which is good. But sometimes it’s lame because I feel like people always expect something from me when I’m out surfing. Like people will be watching me and that sucks cause I just want to go surf and because it’s my job and what I do, it’s always work because people are out there watching. So that part sucks. I can’t wait ’til the day when I can surf without stickers on my board. And then it won’t matter—I can just go surf, that’s what I do anyways, but people won’t be expecting stuff from me. I just go surf, but I feel like because it’s my job people will either watch or expect me to be something because they see pictures in a magazine and are like, “I wonder if this guy’s any good?

What are you inspirations for your surfing and your artwork?

Creativity for both, pretty much in any aspect. Something I just realized recently is that I like to see creativity, whether it’s in art, surfing, music, or whatever, people doing their own thing, or the same thing just bigger and better.

Do you think there’s any creativity going on in surfing right now?

Yeah, I think there’s a lot. But surfing seems kind of limited, but even that statement gets disproved pretty much daily cause people are doing new stuff every day. It’s just hard cause you’re limited with waves and equipment and what not.

Is there any one that you think is pushing the limits in surfing or who inspires you?

I think the whole tow-in thing has pushed everything as far as riding waves that people have never seen before or let alone thought they could ride. And it started about five years ago and now they’re surfing these stupid waves the way they would surf regular, everyday waves. So that in itself is pretty amazing.

Have you ever towed into a wave before?

No.

Do you want to?

I don’t know. I’m sure it’d be fun. I’m sure after I did it once I’d probably want to do it some more, but it’s not something that I’m really focusing on.

Do you like surfing big waves?

Bigger waves are fun. I’ve never surfed giantaves or anything but I definitely have fun in big waves. It’s good to get scared and have to push yourself.

Are any of the air guys impressing you these days?

There’re a lot of guys—Josh Kerr’s pretty good, a lot of the Aussies are really good. Pretty much I just look at skaters and snowboarders for inspiration for that kind of stuff cause they actually know how to do stuff.

Do you skate or snowboard?

I’ve snowboarded a couple of times—it’s cold and stupid. I used to skate a lot more, just mini-ramps and what not. I started out skating before I surfed and now I don’t skate a whole lot.

How come? So you don’t get injured?

Nah, cause I’m lazy. It’s part of the whole “when I’m doing nothing, one of the things I’m not doing is skating, cause I’m doing nothing.

In your artwork, what mediums do you use and what do you create?

Lately I like to make stuff, hands-on stuff, besides painting or drawing. A lot of building stuff, breaking things and gluing them onto other things. All kinds of stuff—mirror stuff, lots of stuff with resin, woodwork stuff, metal stuff, lots of stuff, pretty much.

What are you working on right now?

My new project is a small coffin. I chose the old style, fashioned it out of wood, and am covering it with tinted resin.

Are you going to put anything in it?

No, I’m not putting anything in it. It isn’t for anything. I just always wanted to make a coffin and didn’t have the space or tools to make a life size one. I’m not real sure why I want to make a coffin. Eventually, I’d like to have one to take naps in.

What are your thoughts on death?

The whole idea of death is just interesting to me. It’s the one thing in life that is guaranteed to everyone. You will die. There’s no getting around it. It’s interesting to me that even after death, there are so many clues about life. You can tell so much from a dead carcass.

Are you scared of dying?

No, not really. I mean it’s gonna happen. I think it’d be kind of exciting to actually know when you’re gonna die rather than to just die and then you’re dead. It’d be pretty cool to be in an airplane going down and just know that it’s coming. That’d be a lot better.

When you die, do you want to be buried or cremated?

I want to be fed to animals and be part of the food chain like it should be. Like when animals die, other animals eat them. When you’re buried, you just rot and roly-polies pick at you until they get bored.

What are your personal goals?

I don’t really have any goals. The one thing I want to do is buy a house and that’s pretty much it.

Do you want to have a wife and a bunch of little kids running around?

I don’t know about that whole marriage thing. People come and go in your life and having just one person in your life forever is kind of weird. At least to me right now. I don’t know about that whole institution of marriage thing, anyways. If two people want to be together I think they can do it without having to tell everyone else.

Are your parents still together?

No. My dad left my mom shortly after I was born and I’ve actually never met him.

How did your dad leaving you so early on affect you later in life?

I really don’t think it affected me at all. He was just never there. I’ve never seen a picture or anything. I hardly ever think about it. I’m a little bit curious to ask my mom about him, but I never do. And after all, my stepdad and brother have been in the picture for most of my life, so they are family.

What do you care about?

Not much. I don’t know, it depends on the day. Today I cared about nothing, really. I just went surfing for a while and that was it. Nothing really yesterday.

This week?

I actually cared about doing a contest as a way of making some money.

What contest?

This contest up in Pismo, some airshow thing.

How did you do?

Somehow I won. I cared about getting a surfboard so these guys at Troy Lee Designs could paint it, but that hasn’t happened yet. I cared about putting up my curtains cause I wake up too damn early cause it’s really light in my room and the waves suck, so why get up?

What time do you usually wake up at?

7:00.

And after you put the curtains up?

6:55. Curtains didn’t work too well.

You don’t drink alcohol. How come?

I don’t drink alcohol because it doesn’t taste very good as I found out when I was younger. So usually when things don’t taste good I don’t eat or drink them and I don’t see much point in it. People will be like “I do it to relax. Well, I’m pretty goddamned relaxed. When you’re as lazy as I am, you don’t get much more relaxed. People tell me “you can be more social. Well, most people frustrate and annoy the hell out of me, so I don’t want to be more social. Most people act stupid and use it as an excuse to be stupid and I’ve done plenty of stupid things and I don’t really need an excuse. I have no problem being an idiot just because I want to. People try to pay me money to drink, that’s pretty funny.

What’s the most anyone’s ever offered you?

I’ve been offered a hundred bucks. I turned it down. I’m not some kind of whore that can just be bought. Well, unless it’s surfing or something like that. If it’s something I want to do, you can offer me all the money in the world and I’ll do it eventually.

Do you think you have it easy?

I have it really easy. I’m very fortunate for what I have. I have it very easy. But it’s funny though, cause as easy as I have it, and the few things I have to do that are that easy, other people can’t even do that, and it’s just retarded. People are in my situation and they complain and we have it so easy it’s just stupid.

Thanks Josh. I won’t keep you any longer cause I know you’ve got a lot of doing nothing left to do. Any parting words?

I just want to thank anyone and everyone that helped me to get here and those that supported me then and support me now. It’s kinda messed up cause now I get what I want, which is nothing—no place to be, nothing to do, nothing I’m really responsible for, but I couldn’t have gotten here without help and support. I’ve learned a lot along the way.bout getting a surfboard so these guys at Troy Lee Designs could paint it, but that hasn’t happened yet. I cared about putting up my curtains cause I wake up too damn early cause it’s really light in my room and the waves suck, so why get up?

What time do you usually wake up at?

7:00.

And after you put the curtains up?

6:55. Curtains didn’t work too well.

You don’t drink alcohol. How come?

I don’t drink alcohol because it doesn’t taste very good as I found out when I was younger. So usually when things don’t taste good I don’t eat or drink them and I don’t see much point in it. People will be like “I do it to relax. Well, I’m pretty goddamned relaxed. When you’re as lazy as I am, you don’t get much more relaxed. People tell me “you can be more social. Well, most people frustrate and annoy the hell out of me, so I don’t want to be more social. Most people act stupid and use it as an excuse to be stupid and I’ve done plenty of stupid things and I don’t really need an excuse. I have no problem being an idiot just because I want to. People try to pay me money to drink, that’s pretty funny.

What’s the most anyone’s ever offered you?

I’ve been offered a hundred bucks. I turned it down. I’m not some kind of whore that can just be bought. Well, unless it’s surfing or something like that. If it’s something I want to do, you can offer me all the money in the world and I’ll do it eventually.

Do you think you have it easy?

I have it really easy. I’m very fortunate for what I have. I have it very easy. But it’s funny though, cause as easy as I have it, and the few things I have to do that are that easy, other people can’t even do that, and it’s just retarded. People are in my situation and they complain and we have it so easy it’s just stupid.

Thanks Josh. I won’t keep you any longer cause I know you’ve got a lot of doing nothing left to do. Any parting words?

I just want to thank anyone and everyone that helped me to get here and those that supported me then and support me now. It’s kinda messed up cause now I get what I want, which is nothing—no place to be, nothing to do, nothing I’m really responsible for, but I couldn’t have gotten here without help and support. I’ve learned a lot along the way.