Chairman of board art goes global with surf business
RAINBOW Bay based artist Louis Gervais is one of the lucky few who makes a living doing something he loves.
Mr Gervais is a former competitive surfer who has used his artistic talent to create a business which caters to some of the world's best surfers as well as a growing number of slightly less talented boardriders.
Mr Gervais said he started out painting boards for himself and his friends and his work was so well received by the local surf community, he soon attracted work from surfers as far afield as Japan.
"It was really only word of mouth that got me the business," Mr Gervais said.
"A lot of my friends are board shapers and I get a lot of business through them.
"I've been doing this professionally for about four or five years and really want to grow the business," Mr Gervais said.
Some of his work had already made it onto the international professional surfing scene with double world champion Mick Fanning getting two of his boards decorated by Mr Gervais.
"I hand paint about five boards per week.
"Most people come in with a board and have a pretty good idea what they want.
Mr Gervais' latest technique uses 'impress graphics' or 'inlays' and allows him to create a decoration for a board, photograph the completed work and print the resulting image on fabric which can then easily be put on a board.
This technique allows Mr Gervais to send his art around the world and has attracted a lot of interest from surfers in Japan.
The Japanese market was growing quickly because Japanese surfers loved having all the right equipment, even if they weren't the world's best surfers.
"They are very particular and really know what they want," Mr Gervais said.
Recently Mr Gervais had been busy with the business side of things and was busy learning about invoices, tax and marketing.
A new website showing his work was in the pipeline and would soon offer customers a new avenue to view and order the art works.
Anyone interested in Mr Gervais' work can visit his current website at louisisart.tumblr.com or call him on 0431 577 116.