Southern California is iconic for its laid-back, sun-soaked, beach-inspired vibe. This sentiment 100% rings true for west elm LOCAL artist Andy Davis, of Way Way Out There. Andy’s surf-centric art + design aesthetic has most recently been brought to life at west elm’s newest location in Solana Beach, California through a detailed cashwrap installation. We recently had a chance to visit his light-filled studio and gallery space to see more of this SoCal creatives design process, and in return were not only wow’d by his use of bold color blocking but inspired by his love of the ocean and the energy it brings him.
Please tell us a little about yourself + your work.
My name is Andy Davis. I’m a muppet like creature that lurks in Leucadia, California. I’m a husband, father, friend, artist + designer, borderline incapable responsible adult, and world’s greatest day dreamer. Being born and raised in Southern California in the 70’s, I was very influenced by pop culture. I began drawing + painting and was inspired by the surf scene of that era. Shortly after high school in the late 80’s, I started my first surf-inspired clothing company called Free. Shortly after that I started having my own art shows and began to design + collaborate with other brands such as Patagonia, Vans, and Billabong. I also contribute art and design to causes I believe in such as Surfrider Foundation, Waves for Water, and Adapitive Surf Championships.
Tell us about your studio space.
I have a gallery + studio space called Way Way Out There in Solana Beach, California with my wife and amazing team. It’s a beautiful building with lots of light and wonderful energy. I’m so blessed to call this a second home.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
Make some coffee, get my son off to school, put on some good music, check the surf, hopefully get in the water, off to the studio, emails, check the Instagram, another coffee, morning meetings, light arguing, occasional rants but always an optimistic outcome, project prepping, drawing, sometimes painting, talking story with visitors to the gallery, more music, lunch at some point, take son to beach or skatepark, dinner with the fam, ice cold beer, watch something funny, give thanks, go to sleep.
Tell us about your design and manufacturing process. Any special techniques you use?
All my paintings, designs, and products start with a sketch. Then depending on the piece I usually work with my graphic designer and prepare it for production. There are many different methods to our madness. We license art and designs out to a wide range of companies including hotels, custom homes, restaurants, craft beer companies, apparel and accessories, and non-profit environmental organizations to name a few.
What (or who) inspires you the most?
Wife and child, fun loving friendships, unselfish people, good deed doers, mother nature’s paintbrush, pelicans and penguins, a plethora of music and movies – an example you might ask? Currently, Thee Oh Sees and Schitts Creek, healthy food options, empty lineups, Dr. Seuss, Jack Coleman creations, going left with Gerry Lopez, and way way way too many others to name. Oh here’s two more – Randall Christopher and Jon Wegener.
How did you get started in the business?
Being obsessed with surf + pop culture as a child paved the way into my late teens for the decision to dedicate my existence to art and design. My family was so supportive and gave me the gift of starting my own company at a fairly young age.
What is it like being a maker in America right now?
Today it’s very nice. It’s sunny and warm. Waves are 2 – 3 feet. Offshore – I’m in a beautiful building in Solana Beach California working with good friends. Doing an interview with west elm about what I do. So I guess pretty good. I am so lucky to let my creativity be the source of my livelihood. I say blessings at least twice a day for the position I’m currently in. Of course the internet can be your friend or your enemy, depending on how you look at it. I like to think of it as a friend.
Why do you love the Solana Beach area?
For a fairly populated coastal area it’s still very peaceful and slow paced. It has a simple charm to it. The people are very friendly and easy going. It’s close to home with beautiful nearby beaches and numerous healthy food choices. It’s also home to the world famous Belly Up Tavern where we will have our faces melted by the one and only Ty Segall at the start of the new year.
What’s next for you?
After this interview, a burrito. Oh wait, you mean work wise? – A collaboration with an iconic American brand – Igloo. See if you can guess what we will be making. We’ll give you a hint. It’s cool. We also are collaborating with a delicious craft beer brewery + restaurant called Duckfoot, working on art and interior design with Surfside Projects’ latest opus. Google it and you shall see the magic. We’ll tell you what time it is with our Nixon Watches collaboration. There’s more but I can’t tell you yet. I will still be drawing, painting + designing, and continuing to evolve our existing inventory of fine art reproductions, limited edition wares, and future space station installations. And now we are sending this off to our Korean BBQ and dry cleaning guru for proof reading and corporate-ish sign off. Let’s see if she catches this.