by Dave DelVal
Though born in Paducah, Ky., San Clemente artist Michael Brindley has spent most of his 39 years in South Orange County. An acrylic airbrush artist whose specialties include designing and painting surfboard images and murals, by Brindley's account, his has been a life well spent.
"Every day that I am here I think about how lucky we all are to live in such a beautiful place," he states. "I think I was born with a love for art in my blood and for that I am very thankful."Brindley's love of art was nurtured at a young age. After moving to Huntington Beach along with his family when he was 18-months-old, Michael had a typical Southern California youth, in that he was active in various water sports and spent a great deal of his time outdoors.
"My dad worked as an engineer for Garrett Airesearch in Torrance and my mom worked for an ophthalmologist," he recalls. "For a long time, in fact, I thought I would become a doctor or a dentist, but I guess you could say that my true calling got in the way."
Brindley says that his innate appreciation of art was allowed to bloom
during the three years that his family lived in Europe. "We lived in Belgium for three years, where we learned enough French to get the message across," he laughs. "We saw as much of Europe as we could. It was an incredible experience, particularly for someone so young. To be exposed to the different cultures and the various peoples, it was wonderful."
It was in Europe that Brindley had his first art class, a region seeped in culture and history. Michael says that it was during this time that his
artistic influences were formed. "Lots of statues and plenty of castles enriched by centuries old paintings from the Masters, those were my real teachers," he says.
When the three-year period ended, the Brindleys returned to Huntington Beach where Michael finished high school, attended and graduated from college (with a B.A.) and even found time to do some modeling and acting, including some extra work in a few movies.
Brindley took a job with a medical company and began selling medical supplies, however, to make a few extra bucks, he began shaping and glassing his own surfboards, a side job that he grew to love very much. "One day a friend lent me an airbrush to spruce up one of my boards, "Brindley recalls. "He told me that my boards were dull looking and said if I airbrushed something artistic on the board it would look a whole lot better. I basically haven't set down an airbrush since then."
Brindley started designing and airbrushing his boards and quickly built up a name for himself in the area. He first displayed his art at the first annual Coast Airbrush party in nearby Anaheim, where his art was praised and he was encouraged to pursue more avenues to display his work. He then juried into his first art show at the 1993 Art A Fair in Laguna Beach, where he would eventually serve as a board member for two years.
"The ocean inspires me a great deal," he says. "Most of my work features an oceanic theme, although outer space also fascinates me, in fact, when I was a little boy I wanted to be a astronaut." He adds that he also has an interest in surrealism.
While Brindley's yearly exhibits vary, his art has been shown at such places as the Festival of Whales in Dana Point, the Catalina Island Art Show, the Huntington Beach Art Show and the before mentioned Art A Fair.
In addition to his exquisite, eye-catching surfboard art, which is rich in detail and epitomizes vibrancy and color, Brindley also is an accomplished sculptor and has designed and painted many interior and exterior murals.
Locally, Brindley's mural artwork is featured at McDonald's units in San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente, Carmello's Hotel in San Clemente and Newport Beach High School. He also has just completed a mural for Tim's Liquor Store here in town as well, which is not far from his home in San Clemente.
"My wife and I have been living in San Clemente for a year-and-a-half," he says. "We just love it! I don't know why it took me so long to move here, but now that I am here I can't imagine living anywhere else."
Brindley's life is as hectic as it is full, as he continues to work full
time and pursues his artistic passion in what spare time he has.
"I still manage to find time for surfing though," he admits, with a laugh. "I always find time for surfing, no matter how busy I am. It's surfing, after all, that inspires my work so much."
Brindley closes by offering a bit of advice to artists-to-be: "Never stop trying. Pursue your dream and don't be afraid to push yourself.
2-Brindley's studio on the sand.