Jim Davidson, entering his fifth decade of surf art
North Coast surf artist Jim Davidson is purely ex-Cronulla, simply another offspring child and a true descendant of The Shire's surfboard industry.
For well over the last forty years, Jim’s inimitable style would be instantly recognizable to many surfers, and if they were around in the '70s, '80s, '90s or even ‘00s there’s a good chance they would have either ridden a surfboard featuring one of Jim's surf inspired artistic creations, played a surf DVD that carried his cover design, worn a surf t-shirt bearing a logo that he designed or owned a surf poster featuring his artwork.
Over a lifetime dedicated to the surfing industry and art in general, Jim has specialized in comic-character style surf inspired art for screen printing, spray painting on surfboards, decal designs for surfboard manufacturers and airbrushed posters for surf movies.
|Ex-Cronulla artist; Jim Davidson|
This gave Jim a lot of time to experiment and refine his skills, and soon his work was in hot demand and adorning surfboards shaped by labels including Emerald, Southern Comfort, Force 9, Carabine, Byrne Brorthers, Skipp, Christie, Bennett, Aloha, Channel Islands, Friar Tuck, Island-A-Classic, Natural Flight, and Midget Farrelly, and boards generated by pro-surfers, shapers and surfing identities like Terry Richardson, The Bronzed Aussies, Peter Townend, Cheyen Horan, Mark Occhilupo, Jim Banks, Critter Byrne, Mark Richards and even Michael Peterson among many others.
Even though work was flowing, it was Jim’s dream to move to the North coast - he’d watched the classic surf film; Morning of the Earth and the seed to a country life was sown. So in 1981 Jim and his wife moved to the Northern NSW cow town called Mooball, smack in between the Gold Coast and Byron Bay.
|Artwork by Jim|
Then came the chance to airbrush the surf movie poster for Storm Riders for Jack McCoy, Dick Hoole and David Lourie, a major milestone in Jim’s career.
In the 1980s Jim created logos and surfboard sprays for Maddog. The iconic dog logo had arrived and ruled over Byron Bay - one version on a billboard greeting people into town was 14 meters tall. Meanwhile surf movie-maker, the late Chris Bystrom had seen the Storm Riders poster and wanted some of the same. Jim became Chris’s artist and good friend, producing 20 or more surf movie posters over the next 15 years.
During this era Jim also dabbled in making surfboard wax with his iconic Green Stuff Board Wax label, designed t-shirts for Sportsart and Roo Shirts, co-founded a screen printing business called Mental Giants and hand drew surf maps of iconic breaks around the world.
|Part of Jim's collection on exhibition at Surf World on the Gold Coast|
His dazzling works span the entire spectrum of modern surf art.
Back at Mooball the local service station needed a face lift, so Jim suggested a cow theme and created a facade for the entire building and surroundings, adorning the town with black and white cow print and propelling Mooball into the spotlight on Rove TV and featuring in the Lonely Planet guide.
These days Jim runs the nearby Burringbar General Store, a job neither connected to surfing nor art, but it allows him plenty of time to surf and plot his next assault on the surf art world. His contributions to the surf art have been wide and varied, and something tells us there’s plenty more to come.