Fresh out of the frigid waves of Tofino, BC; we caught up with artist Noelle Jones of Lonely Bandit Studio to learn more about her art, inspiration and about surfing in this beautiful part of the world.
How would you best describe your artistic style & what's your favorite medium?
I recently described my current style to someone as late 60's psychedelic surf grunge meets spaghetti western fever dream, haha. It's a bit wild and out there, but I think there's a fun correlation between surfers and the classic old west cowboy - both generally live outside of mainstream expectations.
Also, I just really love drawing skeletons.
Right now, I'm primarily working with digital illustration; however, I've done some fun hand-painted pieces on surfboards and skate decks in the last year as well.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I draw a ton of my inspiration from music. I love classic rock, psyche, and blues/country music from the late sixties and early seventies, so many themes from that era end up working their way into my art. There was a huge emphasis on visual art that accompanied the counter-culture during that time as well - the band posters and album covers became almost as iconic as the music itself. I get really inspired by the work of artists like Rick Griffin, Stanley Mouse, Bonnie MacLean, and Alton Kelley. They created these insane pieces of art for everyone, from Jimmy Hendrix to Jefferson Airplane to the Grateful Dead.
I see you live and surf in Tofino, BC - Tell us a little about the surf scene there.
Tofino is extremely unique because it essentially acts as a bit of a hub for Canadian surf culture. However, at its core, it's still a small town filled with people who share a mutual passion. I find this makes the scene pretty welcoming and blankets the lineup with a general sense of friendliness most of the time. There are also an incredible amount of amazing women surfers in this town, so the lineup tends to be a bit more gender-balanced compared to other places I've surfed.
We're also working with beach breaks that can change in an instant, so you know that when the conditions are good, all of your friends are going to be out in the lineup alongside you - rain, shine, hail, or snow. As long as you're okay with a nice thick wetsuit and a little cold water in the face, it's a pretty incredible place to live.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as an artist?
Oh boy, this is a tough one. I think navigating the freelancing world has been one of the most continually challenging and eye-opening experiences I've had to work through. I have ADHD, which makes self-motivation extremely challenging. So when it comes to getting any to-do lists done, answering emails, keeping track of finances, etc. I really have to call upon all my resources in order to keep my momentum. The creating tends to come easy most days, but the logistics of it all can be exhausting for sure. If anything, it's been a great lesson in asking for help and leaning on my support systems as much as I can!
A piece of advice you'd give an aspiring artist?
Practice as much as possible and try not to compare yourself to others. Every single artist out there is making art that fits their individual wavelength, and as long as you're doing your best, what more could you ask of yourself? Every creative human I know experiences imposter syndrome - it's ugly to feel, but it's just a false narrative your ego is telling you. Your work is worth it, I promise!!
Your #1 surfboard?
Burnt orange and mustard yellow. Basically, any colour you'd find on tacky 70's wallpaper.
Dream Surf Trip?
I've been wanting to do Southern California/Baja for a while. I barely scratched the surface on the California coast last winter, and I definitely want to go deeper. However, I've been planning to move to Australia for ages, so I think once travel is appropriate again, a journey around the South Pacific, Aus, and New Zealand is all on the horizon. Hope that narrows it down for you, haha!
Current song you play on repeat?
It would be hard to pick just one… but Fleetwood Mac's 'Then Play On' is one of my favourite albums to create to.
Your greatest achievement?
I've had some wonderful milestones and experiences in my life, but I like to think that maybe it hasn't happened yet. I can easily get wrapped up in achieving my big goals, and when the road gets bumpy along the way, it can really derail my motivation. Knowing that I try and celebrate my small wins with the same type of energy as the big ones.
Fav surf spot?
There's a sweet little break on Maui's North Shore that has a special place in my heart… but I'm sworn to secrecy :-)
Be sure to follow Noelle @lonelybanditstudio
Shop her latest prints and designs: https://lonelybanditstudio.com