MARTIN NASIM | SURF ART
Deep eyes, seraphic voice, infinite smile. Martin Nasim was born in Sofia in 1977 and always had the feeling there was something right about art. “Drawing was part my life since I can remember but, in Bulgaria, it was hard thinking of making a living with it”. The communist government was threatening to deport Martin’s father, so the family moved from the capital to Smoljan, a small town in the mountains. Helped by the locals, the family found a safe nest for a few years. It was 1988, Martin was 11 years old and the Georgi Atanasov, Prime Minister of Bulgaria was one of the leaders of the communist party.
“I grew up in the mountains where we had five months of winter, so everything I was doing was snowboarding and travelling to the black sea during the summer. Waves were small and windy so I never surfed there.”
This logic brought Martin to attend mathematics and photography classes at the Smoljan College, but the other part of him was always looking through the window and toward the doors of the building in front: the school of Arts.
After college, Martin joined the military and when he returned, the family had a solution to their struggles: the American dream! However, when his parents emigrated to California in the early 2000’s, Martin found himself the victim of immigration rules and unfortunately had to stay in Sofia.
Lost in the limbo of U.S. immigration, the artist could not take his next step. “When you are waiting for something to happen, you can’t really get serious about anything and you end up unable to move forward”. He continues.
“Then it happened pretty fast. Twelve years ago we were dealing with some hard times. Communism was vanishing but our country was in turmoil. I could not find a job. I was bartending for a while. Then, one day, my friends pushed me to buy a tattoo machine. They wanted some ink. I wanted to draw. The next thing I know is that I had my own one-chair studio in Sofia and I was making tattoos”.
After seven years or purgatory, the immigration papers finally arrived and Martin moved to San Diego. He could finally fulfill his dream of surfing, and making surf art. “When I moved to California, surfing came spontaneous; I landed, looked at the ocean and paddled out. It was like drawing to me. It felt natural, it felt right!”
Martin rides a 9’’ red Hydroflex surfboard by Encinitas local shaper Steve Ford. “Surfing fits perfectly with the pure elements of nature; trees, animals, water are big part of my life and I try to honor them in my art. My goal is having my own studio right next to the water and paint until my last day.”
When he is not working on his surf art paintings, Martin works at the Body Temple Tattoo in Oceanside. In his arts, he mainly uses acrylic markers combining black and white with vibrant colors. Clean and easy to control, the artist uses these tools like some kind of heritage to his mathematics background: a clean perspective that never abandoned him.
His lines are neat, precise and sinuous, like a true longboarder. The symmetry of his work and the vivacity of his colors belong to a parallel world that functions in accordance with its own rules but speaks that same universal language: nature, love and waves.
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