For eccentric surfer, artist, musician, board builder and muscle car-tinkerer Brian Bent, the past resonates in actionable ways. Bent builds and rides pre-WWII-style kook boxes. He builds primitive Hot Rods from scratch. He plays reverb-drenched garage rock that would’ve made the teens at the Rendezvous Ballroom stomp. And his wardrobe consists mostly of blue-collar, Marlon Brando staples (cuffed blue jeans, white T-shirts, leather jackets), personally altered with punk rock aesthetics. Meanwhile, Bent’s artwork has lately veered into nostalgic territory, as well.
A fervent consumer of surf publications since childhood, Bent has recently taken to painting SURFER Magazine covers from the mid-60s. Working fastidiously and using bold, expressionist strokes, Bent’s paintings evoke an augmented reality that brings to mind the works of Ralph Steadman. In reinterpreting SURFER magazine covers, Bent gives viewers a new lens through which to revisit singular moments, fleeting feelings, and defining styles in surf history. As Bent illuminates iconic surf world ephemera, there’s a very Warhol-esque, pop art aesthetic at play, recognisable to generations of surfers.