You Are Here: Chris Del Moro

posted by / Blogs, Editorial / September 6, 2011

Words and photos by Nathan Myers

 

You Are Here, Nathan Myers

“This trip was kind of an experiment,” explains Chris Del Moro, standing over a pile of vintage reggae vinyl and ignoring his own art show. “The goal was to create everything locally, work purely with local materials and just get inspired by Indo in general. It went so well, I think I’m gonna do this everywhere I go now.”

After a year painting flash activism murals on the road with Rasta’s Surfers 4 Cetaceans crew, Chris has gotten adept at art on the run. Roadside whale murals. Sudden sand painting. Cosmic beach sculptures. And now this: scrap-yard wood and discarded windowpanes re-imagined into beatific odes to oceanic one-ness.

“These pieces were already beautiful before I started painting them,” he says. “I just opened myself up to their inspiration.”

Hmmm, I smell hippie.

 

Yeah, okay…Chris admits it. His shirt even reads: “Hippies use side door.” His beard even supports a small bird. He’ll sometimes describe his creative process as “opening up to the universe” and “letting it all just come to him.” But hey, it’s what artists do (I tried to just let the universe write this blog post for me… nah, nothing.)

You could try to give him a hard time about it, but it would be wasted energy. The guy is so unflinchingly positive, so unerringly humble, so goddamn NICE…it’s impossible to hold it against him.

“You know, I was a bit chubby when I was a little kid,” says Chris. “I was a nice kid, just a little chubby. And people were pretty mean to me because of it. But that taught me how to deal with that negative energy and not become part of it.”

Now, lean, vegan, and epicly beardish, Del Moro floats ravenously over a box of vintage reggae and impromptu DJ’s the re-opening of Seminyak’s expanded and re-soulified Drifter Surf Shop. It’s a classic scene here, board racks stuffed with Terry Fitzgerald’s cosmic darts, Danny Hess big-wave guns and Machado “Drifter” Biscuits; bookshelves stacked with Kerouac, Kesey and Bukowski (Drifter’s “boat-trip lit”); and the most eclectic surf DVD collection in Bali. Even the partygoers are a funky mixed bag of pro surfers, artists and expat vagabonds.

But Del Moro’s just manning the record player. “I never know what to do with myself at these events,” he says. “But I know what to do with these records.”

 


 

SURFING: “Freesurfer/artist guy” seems about the best job in the world. What’s the key to making it work?
CHRIS DEL MORO: For me, it’s clarity, being genuine, and just putting 100% into anything you do. When you decide to put 100% into something, there’s no way it can’t work out.

Did this path just naturally come for you, or did it require a leap of faith?
Actually, I’d given up on the whole concept of being paid to surf. I went to college, got an education, worked on organic farms, did manual labor…it was hard. Through all that, I got connected to the right people and things just started happening. Things tend to work out easier when they’re genuine, I think.

How did this show come about?
It just came together through mutual friends. Tim [Russo] from Drifter Surf Shop offered me an art show to accompany the reopening of the shop. The last time I was in Bali I was 16 years old, so it seemed like a good opportunity to get back. A lot has changed.

What made you want to create the art here in Bali?
You know, so many times when you go on a surf trip you’re so focused on the waves that you miss the local culture. This was a way for me to settle in a bit more and connect with Bali in a different way. We even just bailed to the mountains for a little while and did some other things, and I always feel like I surf better when I take time away from the ocean. I come back and boards just feel faster and livelier.

You were staying up at Uluwatu most of the time, right?
Oh man, Tim’s set me up in the Uluwatu Surf Villas right on the cliff up there. It’s such an iconic and powerful spot, I’d say a big part of the show was inspired by that place. It’s a really powerful energy up there. And to wake every morning right on the wave, you can’t get better than that.


 

 

With his section from the new Sight + Sound II movie dominating the flat screen, Del Moro rocks his one-man show ’til the grand opening is grand closed. Then he rushes home to pack for Alaska, where he’s meeting up with Taylor Steele’s transpacific swell-chase project. After that, he’s kayaking down the California coast with Rasta’s S4C Transparent Sea project, where he’ll surely be creating plenty more liquid art on the run.

“This Alaska trip just popped up last minute,” he says, “but the Transparent Sea trip has been almost a year of planning. We’re really trying to raise some awareness about the issues in this region, from coastal debris to river run-off to shipping lanes to starving whale syndrome…”

“What’s starving whale syndrome?” I ask.

“Basically, whales are spending more and more time out at sea trying to get food rather than getting down to the birthing bays of Mexico where they should be,” he says. “So they’re finding all these skinny, emaciated whales out there.”

“I bet those whales skinny whales would photograph well though,” I suggest.

“That’s perfect for fashion week,” he laughs. “But we like our whales nice and chubby.”

I try to think of something clever to say about chubby whales, but I can’t.

Check out Chris’s cosmic blog at: http://collecticlife.blogspot.com/

And feel free to join Del Moro, Rasta and others this October as they kayak down the Cali coast with a herd of friendly grey whales, educating, entertaining and, of course, surfing. Get more details right here: http://transparentseavoyage.com —Nathan Myers

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  • your teacher

    Where’d that article about the oney kid and the documentary chick go? Terrible credibility as a writer to delete something that you put up for the world to see. You should stand up for the things you write. They are your words aren’t they?

    Id like a response

  • Matt

    I really enjoy reading about this side of surfing. It’s inspiring to see normal(ish) (and I mean that in the pro surfer sense) people doing things like what Chris and Rasta (not to mention the countless others like Jon Rose of Waves for Water) are doing to help raise marine awareness.

    On a side note, the link to Chris’ blog is dead.

  • BoBridges

    Del Moro is an awesome dude. Seriously so positive it’s just contagious. Nice post. Nice art.

  • Sven

    “If you put 100% into something there’s no way it can’t work out. ” this guy is living proof. Good vibes.

  • trails

    Irie vibe. CDM’s living the dream. That’s good karma.

  • JonO
  • red gecko

    an article of interest….

  • bad vibes bobby

    How many things just got plugged in that write up? A shit ton. Designer hippies selling product as well as a suit and tie in a different industry.

    This guy puts down so many dudes that are in the same little niche of surfing as him. The whole genuine and nice guy stuff made me laugh. Fool talks shit.

  • Steve

    check bobby’s hypocrisy.

  • Wave Hog

    Way to save the universe, now save some waves for every one else. Dude travels the world and then back paddles everyone at 2′ beachbreak.

  • Yo Yo

    How sad are the anonymous haters, Bob and Hog (same guy, maybe)? Like, why bother with that sorta energy at all? Jealous perhaps. Aw, that’s cute. You’ll catch a wave eventually guys. Hang in there and keep trying.

  • Wave Hog

    @Yo Yo – is your name really Yo Yo? No, i bother because i find this post to be quite contrary to his behavior in real life. Let me break down the irony for you… del moro claims ‘save the whales’, ‘peace and love’, ‘plant a tree’, ‘keep it irie’, but shows up at a beachie that is no where near is home town or florence, italy/los angeles, ca (info compliments of Bing Surfboards Site) and gets on his cell and calls an entire crew, and then proceeds to be a complete donkey by snaking people and back paddling locals. But then someone like you, falls in love with this smoke in mirrors act and has the audacity (or stupidity) to bark at my remarks, which were drawn from a real life experience. Heaven forbid i dont gush over a pro surfer that snakes and back paddles people. You mean to tell me you get pumped on guys like that? So long story short, next time some sweet dude back paddles you or snakes you, put on a smile and don’t get too jealous that thats not you being the dink and snaking people.

  • Yo Yo

    It’s funny how upset you are about that time you got snaked by a pro. Wah wah wah, “he backpaddled!” Dude, tell on him or something. Where’s the teacher? He should totally get a time-out or something.

  • Wave Hog

    its funny how cool you think that is.

  • Dave O’Neill

    Yo Yo and Wave Hog. What are dudes even arguing about? Maybe they’re the same person. That bored.

  • yo you hog

    Yes, we are the same person. and we are Dave O’Neill too… if that is your real name…

  • Scott Barnes

    Ha ha, even if you use your real name you get accused of fake-naming. Surfing should start using that Facebook sign-in tool to get rid of all these anony-grumps. Sucks to imply everyone should have a FB account, but sucks to get shit-talked by people scared to admit who they are, too.