The motto of the Blind Girl Surf Club is a quote from Groucho Marx, “I wouldn’t wanna be a member of any club that would have me as a member.”
Blind Girl Surf Club is the emblem of over forty years of friendship between Julian Schnabel and Herbie Fletcher. Art and surf cultures unified in the name of adventure, history and camaraderie— generations of friends and family, a tribe, in and out of the water. Julian Schnabel and Herbie Fletcher met and became friends during a surfing contest in Padre Island, Texas during Easter of 1967. Herbie was nineteen and Julian was sixteen. I don’t know if they grew up, but both men went on remarkable journeys.
Herbie as a legendary surfer, surf pioneer, and man of many firsts. The founder of the original and still the best traction company “Astrodeck,” Herbie invented a way to keep surfers on their boards so they could propel themselves into the most radical places—a huge contribution to what we see surfers doing now. He was the first person to tow into monster waves with a jet ski. A keen and soulful water photographer and surf documentarian—he made countless surf films under the “Wave Warriors” banner throughout the 90s. His archive footage comprehensively spans more than fifty years. If anyone could be a certified surf historian it would be Herbie Fletcher. He is the godfather of modern surfing. Not only the father of Christian and Nathan Fletcher, but an inspiration to generations of young surfers. John John Florence and Andy and Bruce Irons are all members of Herbie’s extended family. In recent years Herbie has shown in galleries, from New York to Hawaii, his work “Wrecktangles,” sculptures, comprised of broken surfboards, mostly broken by his friends at Pipeline on the North Shore in Hawaii. When he was sixteen years old Julian Schnabel painted the words “Daucus Carota” on a homemade surfboard in Brownsville, Texas. Around the world, most people know him as a painter, sculptor, and later an Academy Award Nominated filmmaker. In 1979 he got the art world’s attention for his large-scale paintings where broken plates were attached to wooden armatures with bondo (auto body putty.) In 2001 he painted a series of paintings titled, “Girl with no Eyes.” One of these images became the iconic logo of the Blind Girl Surf Club. Schnabel’s work has been shown in galleries and museums around the globe. In 2007 he won Best Director for his film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly at the Cannes Film Festival and the Golden Globes, while the film won Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes. That same year The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was nominated for four Academy Awards. Julian is a painter first and continues to make art everyday. He is also an avid surfer. With homes by the ocean in Montauk and Mexico as well as yearly pilgrimages to Hawaii, he lives a dedicated surfer’s life.
The Blind Girl Surf Club was originally conceived by Julian and Herbie during one of their many surf trips over the years. Firstly it included close friends and family then later expanded to pay respects to their favorite surfers by also including them. Members receive a black surfboard with the Blind Girl Surf Club emblem as membership confirmation. One of the last surfboards made was for the late Andy Irons.
RVCA presents the Blind Girl Surf Club collection as a one-off. Opening up the exclusive club to celebrate the life that is the art of riding waves. Art in surfing. Surfing as art. All leaning towards ultimate freedom. Limited Edition Tees, Hoodies, Trunks and more dropping Monday 8/3/15.