Interview with Artist Elizabeth Kirk

Sliding painting Elizabeth Kirk her waves

Tell us about you and your creations

I’m a 25-year-old gal from the state of New Jersey, a place that doesn’t always have consistently good waves. But when it gets good, it gets really good. I would say it’s a paradise with pines rather than palms. I grew up on 7th street surfing beach in Ocean City, my father was a lifeguard there so he just took me to work with him. Many of my earliest memories I can trace back to that beach.

A lot of my creations are just the product of visually appealing things to me, random memories, or things I happen to stumble upon when I’m outside. I want to become proficiently skilled in many different areas of craft, so I jump around with a lot of styles and mediums. Surf craft is my next big venture in creation. A dream of mine is to shape surfboards for myself.

Elizabeth-Kirk-Photo-Art her waves

What inspires the art that you create?

Recently a lot of the art that I have been creating has been inspired by the surfing community worldwide. With the combination of social media outlets and very skilled/dedicated surf photographers, we are able to see surfers of all walks. Additionally, we get to see how good it gets all around the world, at all scales. The surf community has never been so connected.

Perhaps the biggest inspiration to me, though, is surfing with my friends and loved ones. There is no better feeling than surfing with a bunch of rad people, and we all cheer each other on. South Jersey is the home of a very strong and important tribe to me. They have been so supportive of my endeavors in sea and on land alike. Without their support, I wouldn’t be where I am. They are all my home. Nothing makes me feel more grateful and proud.

abstract-surfer-girl-painting her waves

What is your favorite part of the process when creating something?

I love listening to music when I work. It helps me understand and translate colors. Creation time is my meditation time. So linear time kind of flies out the window and I’m just cruising. It’s a great way for me to sit within myself. I have always had a hard time sitting still, and the only way to quiet my mind has been by making things.

Elizabeth-Kirk-painting-fish-sunset her waves

What is your life ambition?

Wow, I have so many ambitions. Listing them all would be a bit much so I’ll narrow it down to three major goals. One, I would like to make a surf film called “Doves & Their Olive Branches”. The film would be a dedication to the beautiful nature, waves, and everyday surfers/artists in New Jersey. It is a place and people that deserve recognition in surf culture and I want to bring everybody together to tell the tale. Two, I would like to find a line of work or career that would enable me to travel and surf around the world (so does everybody, I know). Three, I want to take all that I learn in this life and use it to grow into a well-rounded human being. I want to keep learning every day. I want to be able to take care of my family and give back to my community. That would be my definition of success right now.

doves-olive-branches-Kirk her waves

Where are your favorite places to surf and what is your favorite board to ride?

Honestly, I haven’t done much traveling. I’ve never gone on a proper surf trip (hoping to change that). But currently I’m on Kauai and there’s always a wave here, somewhere. It's magical and humbling to spend time in the water here. It's an honor and privilege to be in the land of surfing’s ancestral roots.

At home, I always liked Crystals and Go Karts in Atlantic City. Ventnor Pier also offers a really fun wave. But within the past few years, I have become pretty acquainted with the north end of Ocean City. I’m a goofy, so one of my absolute favorite places to surf is the left that comes off the jetty at 5th Street.

As for boards, I’m very low budget and I don’t own a large quiver. I have a 9’2” Two Crows that takes me to where I need to go (huge thank you to 7th Street Surf Shop). I love that board. I also ride a 5’4” Lost Motivator (thank you Eric and Heritage) which is a super fun little chip. But I also really like retro fishes and twin fins. I can’t decide a favorite!

Elizabeth-Kirk-Surfing her waves

Learn more about Elizabeth and see her work:

Art Portfolio

Follow her: @bettykookette

I’m inspired by the water, the sun, the moon, and the stars. My countless wipeouts, my dreams of noseriding, and the feeling I get when sliding across the face of a wave.

Meg Jacovino