We had the good fortune of connecting with Joe Suzuki and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joe, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Balance is key. It’s easy to get burnt out working on a day-to-day basis. There’s so much you can do to clear your mind and stay happy threw the day, such as surf, bike, skate, and enjoy time with friends. Doing those things refreshes my mind to get a better start to the end of the day. Resulting in a better day of work or post-work. Growing up surfing from a young age has also thought me routine. You wake up at the crack of dawn to try and get good waves. The same principle follows with work, if you have a bad start that usually follows with a bad day. Biking the studio also helps me get inspired by taking new routes and seeing things from a different perspective good or bad.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Growing up in Orange County where most of the surf industry definitely helped me in my career. I knew I want to do art since High School, but wasn’t sure how to do it for a living. College comes along and someone told me being an artist is hard and that knowing graphic design is a good backup. So went to a community college to learn design and had to take an internship class. I got an internship at RVCA action sports company, in the art department. I didn’t end up getting a full-time position that kinda bummed me out at the end of it. But I created over 6 graphics that were used in the production line. That gave me the push that I can do this. Freelanced with them for a few more seasons. Got an Artist Network Program – Special Edition shirt with my name on it and that was one of my goals for sure. After that, it slowed down wasn’t getting much work, and didn’t know the direction to go or have any goals. Then my brother passed away then stopped working for a while and eventually ended up working in a warehouse for Montana Colors for a few months. That really got to my head and realized this is what I don’t want to be doing. Took the risk and quit the job to do freelance work again. Started getting a bunch of jobs doing sign painting and designs. Now I am here working every day doing what I love. But I did want to quit doing art for living so many times in between….haha
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.
I would take them down to Newport Beach surf spot the Wedge. One of the biggest wave spots in Southern California. Followed by the Balboa Fun Zone area is always cool to take a look at some historical buildings that are left and Great Mex to get some tacos or Cassidy’s for a classic burger and beer. Probably end the night at a local bar that has live music or food.
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?
Shoutout to my brother Ken Suzuki (Rest In Peace) and Conor Sweeney (Rest In Peace). They helped me create art and had a big influence on getting into art. Ken was my number one support, we had this connection where we could push to reach the next level. The brotherly push, inspiration, and competitiveness. Conor was one of my best friends in high school he showed me everything he knew. I knew pretty much nothing and he passed all of his knowledge before he passed. He gave me paints, canvas, etc. to introduce me to the movie “Beautiful Losers”. Probably the best start I could ask for. I have to shout out some others that also have been a big help to where I am now Murphy Bartling, Brophy, PM Tenore, RVCA Art Department, and Joey Duffy.