Legendary Surf Photographer Art Brewer Faces Mounting Medical Bills - Stab Mag

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Legendary Surf Photographer Art Brewer Faces Mounting Medical Bills

Getting old in America isn’t cheap.

elsewhere // Nov 1, 2022
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 3 minutes

There are some songs, films, or other artistic creations that have become so prevalent in popular culture, that it feels like they were always meant to exist. The first rule of Fight Club, the opening chords to ”Wish You Were Here,” or David Attenborough’s voice. 

Art Brewer’s photography is a surf culture equivalent. 

Beginning in the late 60’s, the Southern Californian, self-taught photographer organized, edited, and shot for Surfer and Surfing Magazines, planting many memorable images deep in the heart of surfing history.

As inimitable a surf photo as is possible. (Photo: Art Brewer)

From South African adventures with loony diamond smugglers to Indonesian strike missions with a not-bald Kelly Slater, Art Brewer has led as impactful a life as a surf photographer can lead. His natural talent — especially with portraits — is unmatched, and he has composed some of the most imitated surf photographs of all time.

Blue logos, blue wave. Indonesia 1999. (Photo: Art Brewer)

Born on Valentine’s Day, 1951, Art is now 71 years old, and has been recently experiencing severe medical issues. His friends and family have started a GoFundMe for his bills, which are absurdly expensive.

“Hospitalized since July 2022, Art was fortunate to receive a liver transplant at UCLA in September. Throughout his treatment, he has undergone ten surgeries and remains in ICU. With every step forward in his healing, there have been infections and setbacks. Art is a fighter! He continues to amaze hospital staff, friends and family with his resiliency. His wife, Kathy, travels to Los Angeles every day from Dana Point to be with him. The bills are exorbitant with his extended hospital stay and specialty critical care…the first bill received exceeds 250K (with insurance!)

I’ve known Art Brewer since 1991. He is a mentor, friend, teacher, employer, employee, and collaborator…and he always treats you like family. Art’s generosity with his knowledge and very, very big heart have inspired and touched the lives of many. He has documented surf culture for over four decades, with his portraits giving insight into the people and travels of his lifetime. His photography has created a standard for action sports, lifestyle, and portraiture photography for all who have come after him. Art is a truly independent artist.”

Fleeting youth. (Photo: Encyclopedia Of Surfing)

Art’s work has touched the lives of many, and left a beautiful mark on the face of surf history. The era that his imagery represents is so often romanticized and adored, in large part due to creatives like him.

Our thoughts are with him, his family, and his friends. If you’d like to donate, you can do so here.


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