Artist makes waves with surf images
April 8, 2015
Updated 1:21 p.m.
Artist Lori Gilbert, who grew up in Tustin and now lives in Costa Mesa, has made a splash with her painting of waves. PHOTO COURTESY OF LORI GILBERT , COURTESY OF LORI GILBERT
About the artist:
Current residence: Costa Mesa
What: Lori Gilbert Art Presents: "Liquify", sponsored by Western Digital. The show will feature Gilbert's work, photography by Jeff Davis, wine, food and a performance by Brightside.
When: April 12; 7-10 p.m.
Where: The Boathouse Collective, 1640 Pomona Ave. Costa Mesa.
When Lori Gilbert realized she had no choice but to sign up for an art class, her first thought was “this must be some sort of joke.”
Gilbert was a serious softball player, a self-proclaimed jock who had her eyes on one day getting to the Olympics while studying computer programming.
She certainly was no artist, having never picked up a paintbrush in her life.
A torn ACL shattered her dreams of playing serious softball for her college in Buffalo, and she was forced to move back to Orange County and transfer to Long Beach State College. But a transcript error left her with little options for classes.
The only course she could get into was “Intro to Painting.”
“I was crying; it was horrible,” she said. “Who makes a living as an artist, seriously?”
Little did Gilbert know the class would send her life into a new, creative direction. Sunday, the spotlight will be on Gilbert at the Boat Collective in Costa Mesa for an art show called “Liquify” that will showcase her life-like paintings of Orange County waves and surf breaks.
It was a change in her life that happened swiftly. Once she picked up the paintbrush, something happened.
“When I painted, I just felt it was my purpose,” she said. “It really doesn’t make sense still. I felt like it was what I was supposed to be doing.”
She learned to paint anything she could, and soon dropped out of school to pursue her dream. She took a job selling Sparkletts water, something she could do for a few hours a day to pay the bills so she could spend the rest of her day focusing on her art.
At first, she developed a graffiti art style. She started posting her art on social media and got some good feedback.
Then, people started wanting to buy her work.
“The fact that someone would put something on their wall that I made ... could you imagine if I could get paid to do something like this?” she asked herself. “That would be amazing.”
She decided to quit her job and put all her focus into her art.
Soon after, she saw an image friend and surf photographer Robbie Crawford had taken of a wave and