[Interview] Ozzie Wright

Min : We’re going to ask you a few questions, for the interview. In Korea, surfing is quite new, so we might start with very simple questions maybe silly for you.

Ozzie : That’s fine. I love it. Yeah, fire away when you’re read.

Min : Boards from Vampirates were pretty good.

Ozzie : The boardswork? Right.

Min : I rode the Gravedigger.

Ozzie : Oh, yeah?

Min : And… -what was that- inflatable mattress, one of them was one of my ‘magic boards’.

Ozzie : Yeah, that’d be really good on the waves of Korea, too.

Min : Yeah, really fast.

Ozzie : And the gravedigger; that’d be perfect for Korea.

Min : Once I was on the Gravedigger, my friend asked me, “what did you do on your board? ‘Cause you’re going so fast.”

Ozzie : (laughs) Yeah.

Min : (I said,) “I just changed my board.”

Ozzie : Yeah, they have good designs. They’re really designed for small waves, and, you know, going really fast, as fast as possible.

Min : Could we ask you for one more picture? In somewhere bright?

Ozzie : Yeah, okay. (laughs) Sunglasses.

Min : Sunny. That looks good.

Ozzie : I’ll get my red jacket.

Min : Yeeesss. (laughs)

Min : Hai-ho! We’re ready.

Ozzie : Yeah?

Min : So… We can start?

Ozzie : Yeah.

Min : Who are you?

Ozzie : Who am I? Well, my name is Ozzie Wright, a family man who’s obsessed with surfing. My father was a surfer down on Sydney’s northern beaches. And, yeah, from a very young age I was mad about surfing and surf culture.

And I always loved art and drawing, since before I even sit up, since I was a baby. A lot of my family members, aunts and uncles, are all painters and artists. So I’m kind of just trying to carry on the family tradition.

Min : (We only asked you one question, but) with you’re answer we could do, like, three.

Ozzie : (laughs)

Min : People know many names of you. Which is your real name?

Ozzie : My actual name on my birth certificate is Oscar Billy Wright. But since I was born everyone called me Ozzie. No one calls me Oscar.

Min : I had no idea. So, in which name do you prefer to be called, Ozzie Wright or Ozzie Wrong?

Ozzie : I like Ozzie Wrong (laughs).

Min : When did you move up here from Sydney?

Ozzie : Just at the end of 2015, so I’ve been here for a year, year and a half?

Min : What were you doing here before you moved in?

Ozzie : Umm, I was just getting on Sydney’s beaches, doing exactly what I do here. Lots of traveling, and lots of just stuff that I do a lot.

Min : When did you start drawing, painting?

Ozzie : When I was very young: pretty much like when I was 2 years old, or 1 year old. Never stopped, you know.

Min : Why do you paint? Is it for commercial reasons, or for self-satisfaction?

Ozzie : It’s for self-satisfaction, yeah. But I also make money with them, so I sell them. (laughs) Ok, I dont’ know. I didn’t sell a lot, but it’s fun to sell.

It’s nice to know that your work is of worth to somebody else and your skill is valuable.

Min : Do you paint mostly in here, or in some place else as well?

Ozzie : Mainly here. But also while I’m traveling. ‘Cause here I have my children here. It’s a constant distraction. (laughs) But I definitely paint everywhere.

Min : What kind of paint do you use, is it oil or watercolor?

Ozzie : Mainly watercolor, but sometimes oil, too. Spray paints, I think that’s oil. I use lots of stuff. Whatever. I’m a mix maniac. Crayons, yeah. Everything. Watercolors, inks, black inks, textiles, pens, pencils, digital, photoshop. I like it all.

Min : So you use pretty much everything.

Ozzie : Everything.

Min : Do you practice painting regularly, or is it mostly spontaneous?

Ozzie : Spontaneous, but I try to do something new nearly every day. So I keep trying to do something with my hands.

Min : Where do you get your inspiration? What inspires you?

Ozzie : I don’t know. People, things that happen, other artists, music… Many places, from everywhere, everyday in my life.

Min : Then, who is the most influential artist to you?

Ozzie : Hmm. That’s a good question. There has been a lot of favorite artists over the years. They’re always changing. Right now, there are some people on the Instagram that I follow, that I like. A lot of them are my friends. There’s lots of pretty underground people that I like. I know they’re good artists.

Min : Is there any big-time artists you’d like to mention?

Ozzie : Big-time? There’s a big-time artist called Misaki Kawai. She’s from Japan and lives in New York. She’s kinda like up-and-coming and pretty well-known. I really like her work. I like Ed Templeton, Mark Gonzales, Neck Face and all the good skate artists. I really like them.

And then I like Chris Johanson a lot. He’s one of my favorites. Raymond Pettibon. Do you know him? He’s one of my favorites.

Min : Oh, but my friend might know. Though I don’t really know if you ask me.

Min : Tell us about your role in the band.

Ozzie : I play bass, just bass guitar. I also play guitar a little bit.

Min : Do you write songs?

Ozzie : I do write songs, But we all share. There’s three of us (who write the songs) in the band, two guitarists and me on bass. We all take turns and sing the songs we write. So, there are three singer-songwriters in the band.

Min : No drummer?

Ozzie : We have a drummer, too.

Min : So, there are four guys in the band.

Ozzie : Four guys. Drum, two guitars and a bass.

Min : Could you introduce us the members?

Ozzie : First we have “Killa whale” Tim Cooney. We have Ryan Cowell on the drums, we call him the “Cowboy”. The tall guitarist is “Vaughn Dead”. And then there’s me.

Min : What’s the genre of musics you play, mainly?

Ozzie : What? Sand? Style? (kind of!)

Min : What kind of music do you play?

Ozzie : Yeah, I guess you’d call it… Pretty messy sort of party rock n’ roll, kinda punk, I guess. It’s pretty punk, but some of them are also country, folk and indies, I guess.

All in all, I’d probably say punk, party rock n’ roll. (laughs)

Min : When did you quit your company?

Ozzie : Long time ago. 20 years ago. No, when I was 20. (laughter)

Min : Who’s the closest, most friendly professional surfer?

Ozzie : Oh. *This one’s cool. That’s Ryan Burch, he’s a professional surfer. My most friendly professional surfer is probably Noa Deane. ‘Cause he lives here: he lives in the house out the back yard. And Otis Carey. You know Otis, yeah? Probably those two guys are my closest.

Min : He lives around here, too?

Ozzie : Otis lives just out the road. He’s from Newport actually. And then Ryan Burch, probably my favorite, Alex Knost, and I have so many friends.

Ozzie : Do you know Craig? Craig Anderson?

Min : He had been around here, hadn’t he? Every time I come here…

Ozzie : Yeah, but he hasn’t been here for a while.?

Min : Where’s your favorite surfing spot in Australia?

Ozzie : There’s a place called “Whale Beach” in Sydney, or a beach called South Narrabeen, which is near North Narrabeen. That’s where I grew up, so it’s sentimental to me. It does get really good, but is often really bad. They’re probable my favorites.

Min : Anywhere else you wish to go surfing?

Ozzie : My favorite place to surf is Indonesia. But I’ve never been to Skeleton Bay in Namibia. It’s a really nice and left-hander that I wanna surf. That’s on my lis t.

Min : Who’s your sponsor now?

Ozzie : Volcom, Electric sunglasses, Sanuk shoes, Gorilla Grip. And for surfboards I have Vampirate surfboards and I also have Santa Cruz surfboards. They’re still giving me surfboards.

Min : No more?

Ozzie : Yeah, I thought… I don’t know. I have enough surfboard sponsors.

Min : How do you answer when someone who doesn’t have any Idea about you come up and ask your opinion?

Ozzie : I say, like, I just say I’m professional. Then they always say, “how are you doing in the competitions?” Then I’m like, no, I don’t do that. It’s alright to say I’m in the surf indus try. Though it’s tricky.

Min : What’s your next plan?

Ozzie : My next plans, I feel like travel… I have a show in California this year. Alex knows some good surfers, and he has an art gallery. We’re going to do a show with this guy.

Min : Music, and…

Ozzie : Yeah, I’m planning art paintings, but there will be some music, too.

Min : The last question. Every surfer would like to do any kind of art, be it music, painting, etc. Tell us about your thoughts about art, as an ordinary person or as a surfer.

Ozzie : Every kid is an artist. Every child draws a picture. I think it’s a shame that most people lose it, stop doing that. I see no reason why they should stop (being an artist).

People, for some reason, think they’re not good at it, so they don’t do it anymore. I think that’s a real shame; because my favorite art is often by the people who are technically not so great at it, but do it anyway. So I say go for it.

Min : Art is human nature.

Ozzie : Yeah, I agree totally. It’s just a fun thing that everybody should do. (laughs)

Ozzie : You might go out to surf, just out the front.

Min : What’s the beach c alled here?

Ozzie : Suffolk Park.

Min : Winds should be ok ay, yeah?

Ozzie : Yeah, it’s pretty good.

Min : What’s your plans for this afternoon? Surfing? Painting?

Ozzie : Umm… I have to go pick up my kids. I also have to paint the surfboards.

Min : Family man.

Ozzie : Yeah. It’s fun. My wife is doing something, so.