The ocean is serene as it is unsettling. There’s no better example of its power than the super storm that came through New York City last week, unleashing havoc that left a wake of destruction along its path. The beaches at Rockaway that we New Yorkers were so familiar with over the summer is no longer what it used to be. It’s a chilling reminder that when faced with nature’s force, we are not in control. Yet, even with its destructive power there is beauty in the ocean and for a surfer and artist like Chris Gentile, one can find the parallels between the two.
In July we went out to Rockaway Beach to shoot our latest film on Gentile. As the owner of Brooklyn’s Pilgrim Surf + Supply, many people know him as a surfer but to others, he’s an established artist represented by galleries in New York and San Francisco. Gentile, who received an MFA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill was initially apprehensive about the negative connotation a surfer had and how that would reflect upon his work. He kept the two identities separate. But in recent years, Gentile came to terms with these two important facets in his life and embraced them. His artwork is a melding of sculpture and photography – playing on scale, social interactions and with the viewers’ perception. His sculptures are created for the sole purpose of being photographed.
Pilgrim Surf + Supply is doing their part in the relief efforts. They are mobilizing volunteers to Rockaway on the weekends for the next several weeks. See more details here to find out how you can be a part of it.