Banner artist captures the spirit of Aloha

Now in its 14th year, the Arts Alive banner exhibit has again brought 101 original banners painted by local artists to the light poles spanning the miles between Cardiff-by-the-Sea and La Costa Avenue in Leucadia.  

One of the most outstanding of this year’s banners is Roger Chandler’s surfing beauty, which earned the coveted position in front of Hansen’s Surf Shop at 1105 S. Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas. Inspired by female surfing legend Rell Kapolioka’ehukai Sunn, the banner is characteristic of Chandler’s vibrant compositions that depict the spirit of Aloha.

According to one admirer, Chandler’s current Arts Alive banner “makes you want to jump right in it and hang ten!”

Growing up in Houston, Texas, the young Chandler fell in love with surfing by tagging along with his older brother to beaches on the Gulf Coast. He says, “I was born an artist and a dreamer.” His dreams were about perfect waves, tropical places, beautiful beaches, and brilliant sunsets.

Chandler says, “I travel, surf and paint in some of the most beautiful and exotic places on earth, in reality and imagined. I would like to think my paintings reflect the amazing adventures I’ve had and convey that indescribable feeling of a beautiful sunset reflecting on a perfect wave on a perfect beach.”

At age 18 Chandler was awarded a full scholarship to The Houston School of Commercial Art where he studied graphic design. He further developed his artistic skills as a technical illustrator at NASA’s Johnson Space Center when the space shuttle program was in its infancy during the 1970s.

Roger Chandler’s Arts Alive banner, inspired by female surfing legend Rell Kapolioka’ehukai Sunn, is on display in front of Hansen’s Surf Shop in Encinitas. Photo courtesy of Mark O’Donnell at Pixel 2 Editions

Since that time he has become an award-winning artist and illustrator, with his artwork featured on magazine covers, national advertisements, editorial art, brochures, and billboards. Recipient of the New York Art Directors Award for pen & ink illustrations in the book “Jasper Ridge, a Stanford Sanctuary,” one of his paintings appeared in the movie “The Big Bounce” starring Owen Wilson.

Chandler is most proud of his Hawaiian commissions, including three invitations to design the logo, poster and t-shirts for The Aloha Expo, a large Hawaiian Ho’olaule’a (celebration). He was also commissioned for a painting to be used as the first place award for the men’s hula competition by the E-Hula Mau, the largest hula competition on the Mainland.

Attracted by the good surf in Southern California, Chandler moved to the San Diego area in the early 1980s. Since that time he’s lived in Cardiff, Solana Beach and La Jolla Shores, with favorite local surf spots including Cardiff, Pipes, Swami’s, Oceanside Harbor, and San Onofre.

Chandler currently lives and works with his partner Mary Martin on a 3-acre ranch located on “the outer island of Fallbrook,” which they are developing as an artist retreat called the Starlite Ranch. With a large studio, two potters wheels, kiln, guest cottage under construction, and lots of room for creativity, the couple host art lessons and events on the property.

In addition to his stunning banner currently displayed in front of Hansen’s, Chandler’s work can be seen at 101 Bliss in Encinitas, and the Culture Cove Gallery in La Jolla, and — if you happen to be in Hawaii — the Aloha Images Artist Gallery of Kauai.

Learn more about Roger Chandler and his art at artofparadise.com.

All of the Arts Alive banners can be viewed online at artsaliveencinitas.com and bids can be placed by calling (760) 436-2320.

The final live auction is scheduled for May 26 at 2 p.m. in the Cardiff Town Center courtyard.

Kay Colvin is an art consultant and director of the L Street Fine Art Gallery in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. She specializes in promoting emerging and mid-career artists and bringing enrichment programs to elementary schools through The Kid’s College. Contact her at kaycolvin@lstreetfineart.com.

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