(RALEIGH, NC) – What started as a whim between a couple of artist friends is about to become big business as Raleigh artists Clark Hipolito and Tony Ramsi, launch ArtCo Surf, a new brand offering one-of-a-kind and limited edition surfboards, plus skateboards, stretch beach cruisers, and a unique line of apparel.
Hipolito and Ramsi have become well-known over the past two years for their “Against The Grain” collections of hand-painted, wood-grain surfboards. Hand-shaped by Brian Wynn of Wynn Surfboards in New Jersey, those boards fetch prices in the thousands.
The artistic inspiration for the wood-grain boards is both the Polynesian surfing legacy – when all surfboards used to be made of wood — and Asian art, along with Hipolito’s passion for vintage Chris-Craft boats.
“There’s a fine line we’re dancing between invoking classical elements and keeping the design hip,” says Hipoito, 37, of Filipino descent. “The point is to focus on the artwork in conjunction with the application of timeless wood grains.”
As commissions have rolled in, along with a demand for slightly less expensive yet still one-of-a-kind boards, the two have expanded their work to include original photography on signed, limited-edition boards. That idea grew to include skateboards, beach cruisers, and a clothing line.
They debuted their first collection in historic Wilmington, North Carolina, at Deluxe, an upscale downtown eatery. When all the boards sold after an ongoing auction format — some for more than asking price – the artists knew they were on to something. A subsequent show in Raleigh and multiple articles in national publications, including Waterfront Homes & Design and Line up The Magazine, brought commissions from around the country.
For the limited-edition boards, Hipolito has turned to his “muses” – or, as he puts it, “my gorgeous friends who keep me inspired” – who pose for photos that are then printed on rice paper and laminated onto the boards.
“I’ve always been fascinated with figurative art,” he said, “and I’ve always wanted to take it beyond paints on canvas. Since surfboards became a medium, I decided to experiment with it on them. So far, they’ve turned out great.”
For more information and to see Ata complete collection, go to http://www.artcosurf.com.