Featured Artist: Otis Carey
Professional surfer, father, artist, activist, and all around inspiration, Otis Carey has managed to carve out his own path on this wave we call life in a unique and captivating fashion. He stole our attention the minute we laid eyes on footage of this man popping out of a wave with such ease and now he is stealing our money as we sit here and try to factor in buying one of Otis' unique paintings. While juggling the hectic nature of being a professional surfer, a freelance artist, a family man and an outspoken activist for the indigenous people of his homeland, Otis gave us a few moments of his time to answer some questions we had for him. Enjoy.
"Most (not all) of the energy I give out is a projection of the Gumbaynggirr side."
Name: Otis Hope Carey
Hometown: Coffs Harbour, NSW Australia
Profession: Freelance artist, Professional Surfer
Website (For your artwork): Ain't nobody got time for dat!
Every person has their story about how they first got in to surfing and from what I have gathered, yours is pretty unique. Can you tell me about how you got in to surfing and what held you to it?
I was dipped in the ocean at two days old. My father is a waterman and I guess he wanted to pass that down onto his children. I'm saying that, my mother is a Gumbaynggirr woman and the totem for our preppie, the Gumbayngirr people is the Ocean so I guess I was never going to have a choice as to whether I wanted the ocean to be apart of my life as I am apart of it and it is apart of me. My father had us at the beach every wknd growing up and I was addicted to it from as far back as I can remember. I guess that's held me to it is the connection I have and share with the ocean. I am at my centre of happiness when I'm in the ocean.
You speak about the ocean as many die hard Christians do church. Would you say that surfing is a form of prayer for you?
Surfing has saved my life many times. Things on land have gotten so hard at times it's driven me to the point of just giving up everything, and that's one of the many beautiful things about the ocean, it is always there when I need it the most. I can get through anything just knowing I have the ocean to support me through anything.
I hate the idea of commenting on the fact that you are more "raw" and "aggressive" than the average surfer but there is a level of pure connection and deep-rooted instinct you possess. When you look at the ocean what is it you see?
I see family and I see a overwhelming sense of belonging.
"I'd give a middle finger to all the haters but I love them too."
Everyone has sort of a yin and yang to them and you hail from both the Bundjalung tribe as well as the Gumbaynggirr. Which one brings the uncanny ability to fly off a ripple from a whale fart and which one gave you the cut back strong enough to push an island off center?
Haha! Oh jeez. I didn't get to spend any time with my Grandfather who is from the Bundjalung people's so I'd have to say most (not all) of the energy I give out is a projection of the Gumbaynggirr side.
You are now becoming pretty well-known beyond the surfing and subcultures worlds with your art. What inspired Otis the artist to bloom?
I was going through a hard time at one stage about 4 years ago and started doing realism sketches then I picked up a brush about two years ago now and it's all taken off quicker than I can keep up with which has been really beautiful as I get to share my culture with people.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
House on property with a big studio, kids, family. That's all I want.
Jamie Lee Curtis, Halle Berry, and The Matador. Kill, fuck, marry. GO.
Holy fuck I can't answer this! Marry my miss's though, she's a keeper.
Best book you have recently read.
Last song you cranked to 11?
Mac Demarco - On The Level
Anything else you would like to add? Shout outs to any one? Or better, any middle fingers you would like to hand out?
I'd give a middle finger to all the haters but I love them too. Shout outs to all the mob. Shout out to the miss's. Shout out to my son Beige.