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"The Faces of Surfing" by Letty Nowak

Aaron Goulding Photography Gallery will be hosting artist, Letty Nowak’s paintings of her Faces of Surfing series on 1273 Prospect Street in La Jolla with an Opening Reception on August 18th from 6 - 9pm.  An encore exhibit and print signing will follow at the gallery on August 26th from 5:30 - 7:30 pm.  

The Faces of Surfing is a collection of Nowak’s oil on canvas paintings of people from the surf industry.  Her plans for the paintings are to show them in groups of the next 20 - 30 pieces as they are finished from California to Australia.  

Fine art and the surf industry are not a foreign concepts to the Michigan born artist who now keeps her studio in La Jolla Village.  She was brought up in her parents surf shops and went on to receive her BFA in painting and graphic design.  Her degree lead her into the fine art world where she launched her paintings into the market.  Her large scale oil on canvas faces were quickly well-received.  They then started to move their way up the east coast from the Custom House Museum in Key West, Florida to a solo exhibition at Hal Bromm in New York City.  “During this time I knew I wanted to somehow merge my upbringing into my paintings,” says Nowak.  “I was also looking for way to meet more subjects in different light from around the world.  Faces from surf industry seemed like a natural fit.”

Even in the beginning stages of the project, the industry has embraced the concept and Nowak’s work.  “Many of my subjects have taken the time to sit with me to brainstorm other characters, industry leaders, philanthropic leaders, from different countries and ages alike,” says Nowak.  “They have also be instrumental in helping come up ways to help grow this project and to be able to give back financially through the Faces of Surfing paintings.”  Nowak's work has raised over 42K to help conserve our water and beaches at the Waterman's Ball in Laguna Beach alone.

Some of her subjects include Donavon Frankenreiter, Bob Hurley, George Downing, Bruce Irons, Rabbit Kekai, Aamion Goodwin, and San Diego natives, Debbie Beacham, Rob Machado, Skip Frye, and Fernando Aguerre.  At the Opening Reception, she will be debuting her most recent painting of Mark Richards.  While the paintings hold a life like resemblance, Nowak’s marks and color bring them to a different dimension.  Large and small blocks of color intertwine to make up each feature, plane, curve, shadow and highlight.  “I see each section of the faces as a sort of topographical map and break it down almost abstractly.  When it all comes back together- a new image of my subject is formed.  My goal has always been to have my paintings speak just as loud as the person I have portrayed,” adds Nowak.  

For more information on Nowak’s work and to follow the Faces of Surfing project visit   You can also meet the artist at the August 18th opening reception at Aaron Goulding Photography at 1273 Prospect Street and on August 26th for her print signing.  For any inquiries about the exhibit please call the gallery at (858) 312-0970 or email  The paintings will be on display through August 31st.