We had the good fortune of connecting with Alex Silver and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alex, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risks are life’s greatest examination of character- they highlight the best qualities in ourselves, but also expose areas where we can improve upon. Risks are intimidating, that’s why when faced with one, we have to compare the pro’s vs. con’s. They invite you to shift your perspective. Positive or negative, there is information gained and that new knowledge can help create a better version of yourself. My earliest memory of taking risks was when I was fourteen years old, surfing waves with consequence. If I wanted a wave, I had to go for it- but just had to forget about the potential slam into 2 feet of water right in front of sharp rocks. Later in life, I took a risk that changed my life forever when I became I Firefighter. I realized that helping others was fundamental to who I was, and I was willing to risk my life in that pursuit. Without taking the risk to become a firefighter, I would’ve never known I wanted to help others as a career and therefore would’ve never become both a Chiropractor and an Artist. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Taking risks have played an important role in my life- they teach me more about myself every time.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started making art about two years ago as something to do when the surf was flat. It began in my parent’s backyard when I just said ‘screw it, follow no rules and see what happens’. Quickly, I fell in love with the entire process. It turns out that the rollercoaster ride of creation is what makes art so much fun. I view this process as more of a life lesson- things are great when they work out, but it doesn’t always go as planned. When things don’t go your way, it’s ok to feel your emotions, but also know that a mistake is actually a re-direction steering you down a new path. Looking back on it now, I’m most proud of that moment when I decided to go for it when everything inside of me was telling me I shouldn’t. It brings a smile to my face knowing that I get to use art as a medium to express myself and my message- which sets me apart from others. My message is simply this (in no particular order, but a huge emphasis on number 5): 1.) Don’t be a dick 2.) Treat others how you would like to be treated 3.) Lose your ego 4.) Work hard and stay humble 5.) Love yourself. The way I describe the avenue of art I’m perusing is three fold: First is my surfboard art- I choose to paint on old surfboards to honor it’s creation and extend it’s purpose beyond wave riding. Influenced by growing up surfing all over Malibu and Venice, the boards capture both elements of an urban city existing directly next to the beach. The surfboards feature either lyrics, a quote, or a powerful message that I create or connect with along the rails. Second are my pour pieces- Each piece is one of a kind, depicting abstract paint configurations that mimic geological features on Earth. Not one can be replicated as the paint and texture are directly influenced by the weather conditions. Working in an outdoor studio is quite difficult. Pouring paint in a natural setting rather than in a controlled environment poses many challenges, namely in the form of weather and insects. These paintings are truly a snap shot of time on earth captured on canvas (rest in peace to all the insects that were harmed in the process). Lastly are my sculpture pieces- Repurposing inanimate objects to interact and hold meaning with the viewer began at the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown. When all the art supply stores were closed, I began finding random disused junk to repurpose as art. My philosophy on creating art out of waste is this: at some point, that object served a purpose for someone- I want to recycle that object and give it a new purpose and a new life. Many people ask me what the “H.A.N.D.” means in H.A.N.D. Paint Co., It stands for Have A Nice Day, purely from the fact that I want everyone to have a nice day. I also have it tattooed on my left foot. I’m a practicing Doctor of Chiropractic, so it’s fitting because I use my hands all the time.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My best friend visiting would most likely be hungry, so I’d take them straight to Cholada, the best Thai food in LA hands down. Growing up surfing Topanga beach, Cholada quickly became my second home as it’s situated directly across the street. The owners, Sawai and Nick, have known me since I was thirteen. My friends and I would pay with quarters and drag sand from the beach into their freshly-cleaned restaurant. Next stop, it’s off to my parents house for a celebratory shot of tequila with my pops and a bag of my mom’s insane chocolate chip cookies (if you know, you know.) To keep the good times rollin’ and cap off the day, we’d stop by Hinano’s for a few beers and a round of pool. In the morning, we’d pack the car with all our surf gear and head north to find waves. Before leaving town, a quick stop for coffee from Groundworks Coffee on Rose would be necessary. We’d definitely take PCH up the coast, it’s such a beautiful drive up through Point Mugu. Along the way, I’d show my friend a few secret look-out spots overlooking the ocean. On our way back, a stop at Topanga beach would be in order to check the waves for a potential second surf session. For the best sandwiches in town, we’d stop at Bay Cities in Santa Monica for a spicy Godmother. After filling our stomachs with pure heaven, we’d stretch our legs by playing a round of golf at the Penmar golf course. To cap off a great week, I’d gather all of my friends for a roof-top potluck dinner. Personally, the best places to hang out are the ones that you frequent the most- you find happiness within the community you create for yourself. I’m grateful for the community in this city.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents and two brothers! They deserve a huge shoutout for always encouraging me (and regularly tolerating paint getting on everything in their garage).
Chris Bagôt, Jake Pollock