We tear through our surf reports like prom dresses, loved with such acute devotion it could split the atom.
Then, when their point is served, they are never thought of again.
Some artists hold the things we take for granted and make us remember how lucky we are to have them. Enter Laura Toffolo, a graphic artist who made a poster for the surf report every day for a year in New Jersey.
The spots vary. When she traveled to LA she continued with the reports.
Born and raised in Jersey, Laura now lives in Brooklyn although she ditches the Beastie borough and heads to the Jerz when she wants to dip her seven-o in Asbury Park’s wedges.
How did she come up with the idea of making a piece of art for every surf?
“During the time of this project, I was still living at home and commuting in and out of the city from Scotch Plains by train on the dreadful NJ Tranist. The train would always be delayed or moving at a glacier pace, so I needed something to do to pass the time. I wanted to challenge myself to a poster a day for 100 days. I decided to use the daily surf report as my base so that I could get new and different information everyday. I restricted myself with only using typography, color and illustration. Except on the days where I traveled. During the time of this project, I drove the Pacific Coast Highway from SF to LA and captured some amazing photos. I decided to incorporate black-and-white photography and limit my color palette to black, white and red for these travel days. Creating these posters really allowed me to experiment with unique layouts, typography and color treatments.
“Once I got to day 100, I realized that I created a nice body of work and I wanted to see if I could push myself to do it for a whole year, creating 365 11”x17” posters.”
Was it stressful? Tedious?
“The worst part was forcing myself to open my laptop on those days when I had off of work, attended events or when I was on vacation. Some days I didn’t even want to look at the screen. This also forced me to carry my computer with me at all times to make sure that I completed a poster everyday. Sometimes I would open up my computer and the creativity would just flow out of my fingers and I could create a poster within 20 minutes. Other days I’d tinker with it for hours. There are posters that I love in this series and posters that are definitely not my favorite. But the whole practice was to create a poster everyday, no matter if the outcome was perfect in my eyes or not.”
Inspirations for the project include the book Let My People Go Surfing (Yvon Chouinard), Interaction of Colors (Joseph Albers), Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life (William Finnegan), and Still Moving (Danny Clinch) as well a playlist filled with Kendrick Lamar, Tribe Called Quest or Chance the Rapper.
“Sometimes all it takes to get my creative juices going is some Otis Redding, Sam Cooke or Leon Bridges. It really all depends on the mood that I am in that day.”
If your castle needs a little colour, click here to see, maybe buy, one of Laura’s surf report posters.
(Note: all surf reports provided by Surfline.)