Jay Alders painted this image of Big Groovy Friend Donavon Frankenreiter for the surfer-slash-singer’s current tour. The artists are due to cross paths this Friday afternoon, on the boards of Asbury.
(First published on Red Bank oRBit July 23, 2009)
Who’s Jay Alders? Anyone even tangentially involved with surfing could answer in a flash, in the process of genuflecting before his trademark stingy-brim hat. He’s the 36 year old, based-in-Belmar (although he’s made noises about a relo to Long Branch) artist whose slinky fisheye visions on canvas and custom boards have been defining the surfing experience in visual-art terms for a couple generations’ worth of the sport’s practitioners, chroniclers and fanaticals.
His work’s been licensed by the likes of Billabong and Emergen-C; featured inSurfer Magazine, FHM and Penthouse; offered up for charitable auction to benefit the Surfer’s Environmental Alliance and PETA. He’s a photographer, a graphic designer, an advocate for animal rights and healthy living.
But where is Jay Alders? We headed over to the beach and boardwalk at Asbury Park on an emailed tip that he’d be surfing out there somewheres; maybe stopping in at Lightly Salted Surf Mercado, where a display of his wares and works will be going up this weekend. No sign of him, ergo no big “get” interview — although we did have another fine repast at Pop’s Garage, where we spotted Chef Dan from Asbury Lanes‘ Snack World (as good an advertisement as any, we reckon).
Well, if it’s a Jay Alders Q&A you want, there are perfectly functional ones to be found here and here. If it’s Jay in person you’re looking for, come to the Surf Mercado and adjoining Langosta Lounge this Friday afternoon, June 24, when the artist will be present as they unveil a solo retrospective of his painted, printed and pictured endeavors. The Lounge, the Mercado and the Garage are of course all under the purview of surfers, foodies and filmies Marilyn Schlossbach and Scott Szegeski, who promise still more excitement beyond the artist’s personal appearance.
Like a lot of successful artists, Jay has a Big Scary Friend; actually a Big Groovy Friend, in Donavon Frankenreiter — the surfing star who parlayed his own close friendship with Jack Johnson into a new career as a cult-fave recording artist. Currently on tour, the singer and guitarist will be coming to the outdoor SummerStage at the Stone Pony on Friday for a 4:30pm earlybird show that features, among others, Gary Jules and another good friend of Jay’s, Allenhurst singer-songwriter Quincy Mumford.
Frankenreiter, who commissioned Alders to create his official tour art (and also invited his longtime fan to tour and jam with him and his band), is scheduled to be joining Jules and Mumford in an early-afternoon appearance at the surf shop — and also promised is a free musical performance on the boardwalk outside the store, located in the Third Avenue Pavilion. But wait, there’s more: $7 Mexican beer and burrito specials at the Lounge, along with promotional giveaways and raffles to benefit Clean Ocean Action.
The main attraction of the afternoon, however, remains the surf art of Jay Alders — vivid visions that combine the detached wide-angle scrutiny of the photographer’s eye with the sheer joy experienced by the photographer’s subject. You’ll see elements of Salvador Dali’s liquid, bendy world and Edvard Munch’s loopy landscaping — but you’ll also see brilliant walls and fields of energy-infused, almost sentient water that you’ll be compelled to touch, and which touch back.
Alders will be participating later this weekend in the Surfrider Foundation’s 25th Annual Art & Music Celebration in Port St. Lucie, FL — an on August 22, Jay and an allstar cast of surf luminaries will take part once again in the SEA’s annual White Water Party Fundraiser back home in Monmouth County.