Skip to main content

San Clemente Journal

Monumental Wave Mural

Jun 21, 2022 10:44AM ● By Nina Welch

Joshua’s work is at 219 Avenida del Mar.

by Nina Welch

“Much love and aloha to everyone …” Joshua Paskowitz, bigger than life in both personality and stature, greets passersby with paintbrush in hand as he creates a dazzling, multi-colored pier-sunset mural adjacent to The Real Empanada on Avenida Del Mar.
Co-owner Marcelo Nonaca commissioned the passionate artist to create something inspirational to honor the generations of surfing families in San Clemente. And it is fitting that Paskowitz’s mural celebrates the surfing lifestyle in our charming beach town, because his colossal family is representative of the surf-life that is found here. 

 Famed surfer Dorien “Doc” Paskowitz and opera singer Juliette Paskowitz put down their stakes and raised their family in a 24-ft. camper on the sands of San Onofre State Beach while running a surf camp. Joshua, the youngest of nine--David, Johnathan, Abraham, Israel, Moses, Salvador, and Navah—was born to surf. He said there’s even a family photo of him in a diaper on a surfboard. And while seven of the brothers became teen fathers, he and Salvador were into the arts. 

“From deep in my heart, I consider this mural a shrine to the surf culture of San Clemente,” says Paskowitz. He feels a responsibility to represent the surf, beaches, and families of San Clemente going way back. The Fletchers, the Archbolds, the Andinos, the Beschens are among those families.

Although Paskowitz’s identity was encased in surfing, he rejected the sport at around age seven or eight. The only thing that really mattered to him was art and music. He taught himself to read, pouring over the dictionary and the bible continuously. His favorite authors are Phillip K. Dick, Carl Jung, and Isabel Allende. He is an artist who found a way to make a living at his art. His medium is acrylics, and all of his art is surf-related. Even though he rejected surfing at a young age, when he approaches it from an artist’s viewpoint he focuses on painting waves as the waves express his passion, love and respect for surfers. Admirers see his art as commercially effective. “I’m a huge freak about painting waves,” he says.

Four Generations of Surfing in San Clemente is the title of his monumental mural, measuring approximately 8’ x 43’. According to Paskowitz, his brush strokes not only present a vibrant image, but his intention is to tell a story, the story of surfers past and present who have paved the way to historical significance. 

The three surfers depicted on the mural begin with Preston “Pete” Peterson, an early-era waterman, who won the Pacific Coast Surfing Championship several times through the 1930s. He was a friend and mentor of Dorien “Doc” Paskowitz. 

The second wave represents the ‘50s-‘60s era. At the helm, on the crest, is John Severson (1952-2021), Hall of Fame surfer, artist and founder of Surfer Magazine; a powerful Influencer in surf media and art. On the next wave depicting the ‘80s is surf legend Matt Archbold, with his long blonde hair flowing. Paskowitz describes him as the “James Dean of Surfing.” According to Joshua, “Archy” is known for his spirit of individualism, style, and commitment. With the three generations on each wave, the fourth generation is the future. The last wave on the mural is an Instagramable spot where a passerby can take a selfie in front of the barrel.

Joshua and his wife of 14 years, Brittany, along with their kids, Dorian, age 13, and Amoret, age 11, are proud to be San Clemente locals. With surfing now a mainstream, Paskowitz worries that the stories of those who shaped the surfing lifestyle, like his father, will be lost. Therefore, he is dedicating himself to sharing those stories. 

Joshua Paskowitz’s current exhibit can be seen at the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum.