Big Success for SoCal Artists

By Susan Wickstrand

”The Getaway” Oil & Encaustic Collage

Kelsey Boulger, Staff Reporter
January 25, 2012
Filed under A&E, Top Stories

Recently, the local art scene has been the buzz of many surf art publications and online sites.  Southern Californian talents, like artists Shannon McIntyre, Heather Ritts, Susan Wickstrand as well as photographers Riley Cooney and Ryan Tatar have all just closed a phenomenal year in 2011, and they are gearing up for what awaits them in 2012.

Shannon McIntyre is a native San Diegan currently residing in Puerto Rico.  She is an artist, surfer and mother.  She earned a BA in studio art from Pt. Loma Nazarene University.  In college she earned the nick name “Soul Cruiser”, for her mellow attitude towards life.  This attitude carries over into her art work.  She believes her inspiration comes from God’s creations and nature, as well as her passion for surfing and travels.  McIntyre loves the freedom of being an artist and says, “I feel like I am doing what I was designed by God to do. I love being creative and I love putting colors together and expressing joy through images and expressing feelings.”  Shannon donates her artwork to raise funds for her favorite humanitarian organizations like the Surfrider Foundation.  She has received notoriety for her creative efforts in shaping surf boards, painting and travels in numerous publications including SURFER, Transworld Surf, and many more magazines.

Heather Ritts, another local artist is a graduate from Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach.  In college she studied watercolor and illustration. Growing up in Southern California has been one of her most significant influences.  Her passion for art began as a teen when she first started painting her own surfboards. In her art, Ritts hopes to, “capture the simple beauty of the sea.”  Her success began in 2009 when she painted live at the Roxy Jam at Cardiff. This past year she has been extremely busy and has been featured in many articles in local media.


Another native San Diegan, having grown up in La Jolla, is artist Susan Wickstrand.  Wickstrand’s style is a very unique one.  She is a collage artist and her work is very cool and modern.  She has had exhibits in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Italy, San Francisco and San Diego. Susan’s artwork has been featured in numerous magazines and periodicals. Wickstrand is also a big part of a growing movement back to landscape painting, in particular, romantic landscape painting.


Photographer Riley Cooney has also had a great year.  Born in Encinitas, California Ryan is now living and working in Carlsbad, where he strives to “expand his vision of surf photography and display surfing in its beautiful entirety.” He spends most of his time traveling the globe and snapping pictures of surfers world wide.  His work is growing in popularity in the art scene and is on his way to success.


Lastly, there is photographer Ryan Tatar who may have had the best year out of all the other artists.  Native to Southern California, Tartar has had work in international galleries as well as he has been published in various surf magazines in USA, UK, France, Australlia and Brazil.  In 2011 alone, he has had many different shows, most importantly the Billabong Design for Humanity in Hollywood, CA, the Vans Life Aquatic Group Show in Salinas, Spain, and the Alma Surf Festival in Brazil.  He is expected to have another amazing year in 2012.


All of these artists are in the beginnings of there careers and there futures all look promising.  The year of 2011 was one of success and new found recognition for these five, but 2012 looks even more promising.


Artist’s Note:

Also I’ve been chosen by Rip Curl as their “Artist of the Search” this year so my artwork I did for them is appearing this spring globally on: bikinis, board shorts, tank tops, T’s, flip flops, hoodies, beach totes, and luggage. All with my signature logo on them. Wish we had got that into the article as it is a global deal with the brand. I also have artworks that appear week on ABC’s, “Modern Family”, “Parenthood” and MTV’s, “The Real World, San Diego” (current season).  

It’s been a very busy and rewarding year.


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