Artist Interviews 2022

Sunday Arvo Surf Club  
By Julia Siedenburg

Sunday Arvo Surf Club was a happy find we stumbled upon at a local street festival in Los Angeles. The brand was founded out of the owner Janina’s passion for surfing which she discovered while being on a personal journey. The art of the independent woman-owned brand caught our eye immediately as it was pulsating with joy, community, and love for the water.

The tranquil scenes of surf lovers getting ready to tame the waves, as well as the vibrant beachscapes prints, gave us a truly warm feeling in our hearts. And the motivational quotes resonate not only with die-hard surfers but with anyone that has a deep connection to the sea and enjoys everything that comes with it. Besides prints, The Sunday Arvo Surf Club also sells clothes and other fun things related to the same subjects that Janina is so connected to.

So to all our water rats, ocean worshippers, surf artists, and anyone that is interested in hearing about a badass woman and how she is growing her own business, this interview is a must-read. So please enjoy dear readers!

First off, please tell us how you decided on the name “Sunday Arvo Surf Club“.

I was on this personal journey sort of wandering around the world for a few years— trying to heal, grow, learn about myself, and fell in love with surfing. I was traveling to all these amazing remote places learning to surf and meeting wonderful people. Some friends I met insisted that I visit them in Australia and I ended up sort of settling down and living there for a year before I came back home to the states. Arvo is Australian slang for afternoon. I decided on Sunday Arvo Surf Club for my brand because, to me, Sunday Arvo is that feeling of nothing to do, hanging on the beach with my mates, dipping in and out of the water for a surf. To me, it represents the culmination of an entire journey of traveling and surfing, adventure and finding tranquility.

Your art pieces convey a lot of happiness and love and they seem to be very personal. Tell us your inspiration behind it. Are the surviving images based on memories?

Thank you so much for saying that. It makes me happy to hear that love and happiness are what come across, because that’s exactly the feelings inside when I start a piece. Everything is based on memories and experience; what I feel, things that are special to me, from special places that I surf, the emotions and personalities you meet in the water, the moments you share.

“The ocean is female” is written on your website. A lot of your imagery focuses on females and a lot of those show the women being nude. Can you tell us why you choose to portray them that way?

I like the primitiveness and simplicity of being nude. It’s raw, open, and vulnerable yet the women are completely comfortable and confident, strong as individuals and as a community, being one with nature and the love for surfing.

As a female artist and entrepreneur, what do you think are the differences between female and male lead brands? What are some of the things that make a female artist different from a male artist?

I definitely see that women’s brands are less about objectifying a woman’s sexuality.

Besides the surf pieces you also create city landscapes and motivational quote images. Do you have a preference in painting certain subjects ? Which is your favorite to paint?

I prefer to illustrate things that I have a connection to. What inspires me to draw changes day to day, depending on my mood. My favorite parts would be when I'm at the end and the result is something happy and bright.

Tell us a bit about your upbringing and childhood and how you found your way to art.

When I was very young, my parents were working as architects in Nigeria and the Philippines. From there, we immigrated to Southern California. Growing up as a Filipino American immigrant, I was taught to assimilate, not be seen or heard, not talk back or cause trouble. My parents were very strict and my mother wanted all her children to become nurses. I found ways to express myself through fashion and eventually made a career as a designer.

I didn’t find my way to art and making illustrations until after I paused that career, went on my epic journey around the world, came back home, and had my child. Once I stopped breastfeeding/pumping and found I had gained so much time and needed a release for myself. It was just a way to express myself.

Where do you draw your fun motivational quotes from?

Oddly enough, they all come from a time or place of feeling a bit sad or lost and I’ll “Self Talk” my way and draw it out and turn it into happy motivation. A lot of it comes from conversations I’ve actually had with people or myself. A perfect stranger told me, “I love all this, it makes me so happy, keep going!!!”, and that sparked a whole series.

Your images are very bright and colorful. One consistency that stands out is that the red surfboard stays the same. Why did you choose to paint it red?

I chose to keep the surf boards consistently red in order to help unify the series. The red is a strong pop and focal point. I love the way it pops against the other colors yet doesn't dominate.

Besides prints, you also sell signs, clothing and sustainable swaps. Can you tell us more about surfing culture and how it is connected to the care for the ocean,all living things and sustainability?

As a surfer and being in the ocean everyday, you see a lot of trash and debris floating around. My first real shocking encounter was surfing Bali during the rainy season and literally paddled through armfuls of straws, bottles, plastic bags, and other unbelievable items. It became important to me to be more conscious and try to eliminate my single use plastics.

What is next? What are your goals for your brand and your art for the future?

It’s a bit full on at times, as a full time mother and sole person running a brand and making art. I’m savoring my wild growing daughter as much as I can at the moment. I have a few products that I’m designing for Sunday Arvo that I’m excited about. The nice thing about starting your own business is that you can take your time and you’re on your own deadlines. The goals are to keep going, keep growing, and to continue to follow my bliss and make things that make me happy!

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