Up Close: Ben Brough

I’m honored to have met Ben Brough. I’m happy to know I’ve personally met a genius. He’s like a renaissance man traveling the world making art, surfing, and living the life he’s always wanted to live. Ben’s always been an amazing surfer, but he has so much more to offer this world than just airs and barrels. He’s on the forefront of his own little niché in the art world, his own world¿Ben’s world. To put it simple, he’s an artist.¿C.C.

Up Close Ben Broughby Blair Marlin

How long have you been doing art, Ben?

I’ve been drawing since I was really young, but I got into painting five years ago.

What do you get out of it? Is it the same kind of satisfaction as surfing?

Yeah, definitely. It’s on the same level, but it’s different because with surfing, nothing can compare to it because it’s so fun. Painting gives you the ability to create something. With a wave, it’s more like you play on it and have fun, kind of like your inner child. Painting is a sense of accomplishment. I guess you can get that in surfing, too.

Do you have anything you like to paint the most?

I like to paint whatever comes to mind, sometimes just a bunch of scribbles. It’s more connected to my energy and feelings.

And what’s going on that day.

Yeah, some days I won’t even do it. And some days I’ll do it all day. If I want to think about surfing, then I’ll paint surfing. It’s more of a pastime¿creating things and having something to show for yourself when you get older. You look back at what you were thinking at that time.

Your brother Jordy seems to be on the right track now.

I’m stoked for my brother.

Are you living vicariously through him?

Yeah, he’s going to carry on the professional name for Brough. He’s under a good thing with Volcom, Dave Riddell, and all those guys.

Are you still taking photos as well?

Once in a while, but it’s so expensive. I like shooting photos because you capture the truth so quick. It’s fun, but there’s so much to learn and it costs so much money to get film developed. I shoot Polaroids, and when I go on a trip somewhere, I take as many rolls as I can¿eat less and buy more film, so that you can document it all. That’s what it’s all about¿mapping out the future.

Do you have your journals here? Your books?

Yeah, I have one that I started on. I got rid of everything because I just moved in here Laguna Beach, California.

Do you have it all in storage?

I sent it back home when I was back in Hawai’i. Looking through stuff I did these portraits of my girlfriend. This picture¿I did three different versions. There’s one when me, Ozzie Wright, and Cowboy went up to San Francisco.

What did you guys do up there?

Just walked around Haight Street and shot some film.

You and Ozzie have a similar kind of art.

His stuff is amazing. I can’t compete with Ozzie. He does all realistic things. He pretty much busts out anything he wants at any time and it’s all good. It’s cool that he’s from a totally different country¿we have a lot to talk about. When we’re together I feel some pretty heavy creativity¿he’s such good inspiration.

Are you still doing the air shows?

I’m still super into that.

Do you get inspired when you go to different places?

I get overloaded. I went to the Guggenheim Art Museum in Spain, and all these things were going through my head. I walked upstairs and saw these Picasso paintings and I didn’t even know they were there¿I got all numb for a second. Seeing them live was pretty crazy. Where do you see yourself in five years with your art, surfing, and life?

I’d say that I’ll still be surfing, doing more art, as well as getting a chance to live in different places like San Francisco, London, and France¿experiencing different things. Surfing is more of an exercise, it just doesn’t grasp who I really am and where I came from. Painting is kind of the same way, but I can take it places. You can take it ddifferent places than you can with just riding waves.

Do you have anything else you would like to have people know about you?

I’m just out there to have fun, I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone. I’m just doing what makes my soul happy. I’d just like to thank everyone who’s helped me out. Being able to travel and see the world off of surfing, it’s pretty crazy how far my surfing has gotten me. I hope art takes me in the same way.