Interview with Akela Surf Artist Victoria Jones

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1- Tell us about yourself: Where are you from? Where do you currently live? Tell us about some of your hobbies and passions.

I am originally from Hampshire in the South of England. I moved to Cornwall for university and I was instantly hooked on the beach and surf lifestyle, shaping the direction of my life since. After graduating with a BA (Hons) Illustration, from Falmouth University, I wanted to find a way to combine all of my passions at the time - art, fashion and surfing, and I went into print design specifically for boardsports clothing. I've worked both in-house and freelance over the years and have had the privilege of working with some fantastic brands. I'm currently living in Bristol, a vibrant and exciting city, where there is so much going on with regards to art, music, and conscious living, not to mention having been voted the no.1 smiliest city!

Aside from art and surf, I love to travel and experience other cultures. I am a child of the wild at heart, and I'm drawn to the outdoors, nature, the environment, the planet and the universe. I'm always reading and constantly on a quest for knowledge. The human mind fascinates me, as does philosophy, psychology, physics, spirituality, ancient religions, mysticism, alchemy, astrology, anthropology. I nearly forgot to mention dancing, one of my favourite things in life! There is also music - I play the guitar, sing and I have recently taken up the didgeridoo and african drumming! As well, wholefoods, health and nutrition of body and mind is also of huge importance to me. I try to include meditation practice into my daily routine, and I love yoga and it's innate and symbiotic relationship with surfing. 

2 - Tell us how you found out about Akela Surf and what impact it has had on you thus far?

I came across Akela Surf's website by chance online, I really liked it's edgy and unique style and got in touch to ask about a possible collaboration. Akela have been a delight to work with. It think we have fairly similar visions and aesthetics, and for this reason I think both the clothing and my illustrations compliment each other nicely. I was also lucky enough to be given some items from the 'Victoria Jones Collection' to trial and test and I can safely say I'm a big fan of the styles! Super comfy and practical but stylish design too.

3 - Describe to us some of your most memorable events and trips?

Fortunately I have had the opportunities to travel to many incredible places in the world, although not enough…! I don't think my desire to see the world and all it's wonders will ever diminish. My favourite trip so far was the 3 months I spent in Huntington Beach in California in 2010/11. I instantly felt at ease with the way of life in California - the surf, the food, the landscape, sunshine, and warmth of the people. I made some good friends in the short time I was there and try to go back every year. Mexico is not far behind - I went last year with 2 of my closest friends. We stayed and surfed mainly in Sayulita, Nayarit, as well as down the coast at some more uncrowded spots. I fell in love with Mexico and it's beautiful and inspiring culture, people, food, art, history, and I ended up staying a month. I barely scratched the surface in that time and I vowed to go back.

4 - What does arts mean to you?

To me, art is a manifestation of the human imagination. It includes anything that has come from our collective mind and brought into physical existence, whatever medium this may be. It is an appreciation of beauty and the not-so-beautiful. It's about play and not taking life too seriously. Art is a means of questioning the "normal", widely accepted current paradigm and of thinking laterally, challenging perceptions and creating new visions of the past and for the future. It stirs up emotions and has the power to evoke feeling, affecting and inspiring others, if not consciously, on a subliminal level. I believe art is integral and plays a vital part in our human interaction with this planet and it's many environments, our legacy, if you like of our fleeting existence here on Earth. So nothing too important then!

5- Can you describe the feeling of drawing to us?

Drawing has it ups and downs like anything. When it does't flow, it is the most frustrating thing in the world, everything is irritating, you're the worst artist to have lived and should pursue a career in something else. When it works it just feels natural and right, everything slots into places and nothing else matters. It is a form of meditation in that respect. I'm sure many people can relate to this feeling.

6 - What are your future plans and goals?

I aim to carry on working with and collaborating with awesome brands, to keep practicing and developing my art and design work to the best of my abilities, wherever this takes me, and to keep inspiring and being inspired. A design studio by the sea would be the dream!

7 - If you had one wish to help change the world, what would you wish for and why?

That we could live in a world where each one of us could be sustained using our talents and skills, not just in art, but in all areas and industries. A fortunate few are in this position but the majority of the world population do not have the opportunities to explore what gift it is that they have to offer the world, let alone use it. My wish would be that we are all loved and appreciated for our unique abilities. Greed and exploitation would be eliminated because we would all be fulfilled to our core and perform every action with purpose and intention because we would know that our gifts are important, essential and sacred. Call me idealist and a dreamer, but that would be a world I'd want to live in!

8 - Who and what inspire you ?

To me, life itself is constant and inexhaustible source of inspiration. I usually look to nature, which is abundant in patterns. I like to also draw people and the human form, faces, I love drawings eyes as they convey so much to the viewer. On my travels I photograph anything that I can use as inspiration for drawing and creating artwork - textures, colours, graphics, patterns, flowers, people. I have a whole image bank of flowers photos that I have taken and use for reference material to create prints and patterns. I find that spending time outdoors in nature has a rejuvenating effect if I ever get stuck in my thoughts. A walk, run or surf in the wild always clears the mind and often lights a creative spark. I also admire remarkable individuals who have followed their passion and made waves in doing so. I read a lot and I am always digging deeper into the mysteries of life. I find the more I do this, the more I am amazed which in turn, inspires me to create more.

9 - What do you like the most about behind an artist and surfer?

The best thing is probably the freedom. I don't feel 'tied down', and as a result, more in tune with the rhythms of life. It also makes its easier to steer life in a different direction with ease if I wanted or needed to. The other thing is the people I work with and am surrounded by. I have just moved in to an awesome new shared studio space, Paper Arts Studios in Bristol, and love being in a creative environment amongst artists, designers and other inspiring individuals happy and doing their thing. Working mainly within the surf industry is exciting too because you deal with people who are usually like-minded and genuinely passionate about what they do, love the sport and the lifestyle, which inevitably rubs off on you.

10- Anything you will like to share with us?

All this is making me want to get in the water… I wonder what the waves are doing this weekend…..!



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