Welcome to MEET: Where we at YourSurfTrip dive into the lives of our favourite people, to give you an insight into what makes them tick. This week we spoke to Lizzy Artwork about her latest surf inspired murals, on keeping the beaches clean and the power of social media.
We met Lizzy in the basement of Coffee and Waves, a soon-to-open café in Lagos where Lizzy is creating one of her new favourite projects, murals. With black overalls on covered in paint and an array of colourful open pots of paint on the floor, she’s kneeling on a stepladder adding final touches to her latest mural.
“What do you think?” She asks, stepping back to see the illustration in full. It’s a pastel coloured illustration of a girl and a guy on a longboard, surfing the ocean. Her signature style makes you want to run straight out of your office to take a one way trip to the nearest beach and never come back.
She's only made a few murals so far, but they're easy to remember and recognise. When she was in Sri Lanka earlier this year, a couple came up to her and asked if she was Lizzy. They thought someone was copying her illustrations. “That’s crazy, isn’t it?They’re from Canada, I’m from Portugal, and they recognized my style in Sri Lanka. It really made my day,” Lizzy said with amazement. Need we say more?
Her feminine and elegant style of illustrating evolves around two main characters, the Surfer Girl and the Believer. The Surfer Girl is a very natural being to Lizzy, an elegant, faceless, longboard surfer girl with thick long hair blowing in the wind, “She likes to be in the nature, in the water, really enjoying every moment.” The Believer on the other hand, a five-eyed character covered in tattoos that all have a meaning, only comes out when Lizzy feels introspective, questioning the world. “He is the more philosophical character, representing my search for a purpose in life.”
Growing up, she always loved to draw; it was her favourite hobby. It’s only when she was in high school that she started surfing as well, slowly starting her journey with the Surfer Girl.
“I saw someone surfing on TV and I was really impressed. It made me want to become a surfer as well. So I saved the money from my monthly allowance for a year to buy a surfboard. And you should imagine that I had never surfed before! So I show up with my board on the beach, the first woman on that beach to learn to surf, and the life guard said to me, ‘do you really want to surf? I can teach you.’ I was fifteen at the time. It took me ages because I didn’t have proper lessons. I was watching the surfers to learn what they did and was trying to understand them. It gave me the introduction into the surf culture, how it works and what the values are.”
Lizzy has had a love for nature from a young age, always secretly running off to the forest to lie in the grass and watch the birds. It’s her connection with nature that made her become a volunteer for the Surfrider Foundation years ago, an NGO that she is now running a chapter for in Portugal. On a regular basis, Lizzy and the volunteers from Surfrider, Marmeu (a local association) and PPSC (Peniche Surf Clube), organize beach clean-ups and create awareness amongst the people and the local governments about plastic use and plastic pollution.
Having studied environmental tourism, and being passionate about nature, Lizzy feels strongly for the ocean and the Surfrider Foundation. Living the surf life, the ocean has given her so much that she feels she has to, and wants to, give back. “It’s weird because if you leave trash on the beach, people pass by and ignore it like it’s a normal thing. But when you pick it up, some people ask why you’re picking it up because it’s not yours. We have to change that. It’s really just a mindset.”
Being part of the surf culture undoubtedly inspired the Surfer Girl, but when asked if she is drawing herself in her illustrations, she laughs. “I’m not, but it can be a representation of me, because it’s my world. I draw the characters depending on my mood.”
Lizzy has recently done a collab with Dakine Surfwear and we can’t wait to see what she’ll come up with next. Get this girl’s instagram in your feed: @lizzyartwork and visit her website here for some mouthwatering printed goodies.
To win Lizzy's print 'Umbrella' from the 'Memories of an old soul' collection (2018), follow @your.surf.trip and tag someone who will love Lizzy's work HERE. The winner will be announced through insta on the 1st of June.
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