On the heels of Santa Cruz being named the fifth most artistic city in the United States by The Atlantic, local artists are displaying their work to the public this weekend. Among them is Maia Negre, a 30-year-old painter and surfer who has lived in Santa Cruz for the past 13 years.
Her work will be on display at the Ron Blitzer Gallery as part of the Oceans of Art show beginning this Friday, Dec. 2. The opening takes place from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will feature a range of artwork from 27 local surfer-artists. On Saturday, Dec. 3, Negre will have her own art show opening at Cava Wine Bar in Capitola from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The showing, titled “Waves and Wine,” will be on display through the end of the month.
Negre has had considerable accomplishments despite her young age. She has been a professional painter since she was just 22 years old. When she was 23, her painting “Kat and Katie” was featured as the official poster artwork for the 2006 Women on Waves Longboard Surf Festival.
Negre moved to Santa Cruz when she was 17 and the city’s culture quickly had an effect on her. Though she had never considered herself a painter before, she began taking art classes at Cabrillo shortly after her arrival. Once she began painting, she knew she had found her niche.
“I just fell in love with it,” says Negre. “I knew that this is what I should be doing.”
In addition to taking art classes at Cabrillo, Negre began surfing when she moved to Santa Cruz. Her love of surfing, coupled with her years of experience swimming, has deeply influenced her painting career.
“Being a surfer has given me a lot of perspective as to how to the ocean works and its rhythms and the way it affects people,” she says. “It’s always been truly inspiring to me.”
Negre’s artwork largely focuses on oceans and beaches, making Santa Cruz an ideal location to establish her career.
“There’s just so much to be inspired by here,” she says. “It’s just such an incredible place to be an artist.”
Despite her fondness for the water, Negre isn’t confined to ocean scenes. More recently, she’s taken to painting landscapes, especially vineyards and wineries. But even when she’s working with wine, her experience with the ocean helps to enrich her work.
“I have a series of paintings that are wine-related, but they’re also very fluid,” says Negre. “They depict wine in glasses, but there’s a lot of movement so they’re all very fluid.”
For information about Maia Negre and her upcoming shows, visit maianegre.com.