Allan Wrath Interview

Interview by Glenn Sakamoto

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Check out more work by Allan Wrath at his website:


Allan Wrath is a talented surfer/illustrator originally from New Zealand. His simple and whimsical work originally caught our attention on Instagram. We spoke with him to learn more.

Tell us a bit about yourself…
I am a graphic designer and artist originally from Auckland, NZ, but in the last month have moved to Sydney, Australia. I am married with two kids. Thomas Campbell changed my life. Seriously, it was like being born again but into the the eclectic world of surfing. That's where I first saw Al Knost and became a fan of his style and approach. Out of that, I have shaped hand planes and paipo's and an alaia which is back home in NZ. I was so inspired that we named out daughter 'Mexico Alaia Wrath'. I have also just finished my first handshape. A 6'8 single fin pintail egg. It surfs amazing which I am stoked on, but I'm keen to go again and really inspired by the McTavish bluebird. Other than that I work as graphic designer/illustrator and have my own studio called Bamboo Studio. I focus heavily on keeping everything organic and like to keep a hands on approach. 

Where did your interest in art begin?
My first encounter with art was from my Grandad who I was really close to as a kid. I remember being 6 and he was teaching me about Michelangelo. I remember sitting with bunch of magazines that night and deciding I was gonna be an artist when I grew up. I still draw pretty similar to when I was a kid, simple pictures of characters with individual quirks that give each character their own personality. I even use the same pens. I'm a stock stand HB pencil or black fine liner kind of guy. My first proper job out of school was working as a sign writer. I have ways had a fascination with lettering and brushwork and a couple of years found out that my great grandfather was a sign painter. I guess that have me a love for having a hands on approach to graphic design. It's important to get way from the Mac.

Who are some of your influences in surfing and in art? 
Big influences in surfing would have to be Al Knost. He has one of best styles and I love the approach of shaping and riding your own surf craft. I'm inspired basically inspired by anyone who has the ride everything mentality. In the art world my biggest influence is Geoff Mcfetridge. The guy is an artistic genius. I heard him once say that he wants his work to be so simple and universal – it's like the Helvetica of art. That really spoke to me and has shaped what I do. As a kid I used to read Salvador Dali books that were in my mate's cupboard at his house. I wasn't all that inspired by his work but remembered being inspired that one person could do what he loved and make a living doing it.

What do you hope to communicate with your art?
Positivity, simplistic living. I have a young family and a business and life can be so damn complicated. I feel that through my artwork I communicate the "me" that if I I didn't have to spend 90% of my week doing commercial work and invoicing. Y'know waking up every day and skateboarding to the beach with a handplane and a sick stick. On the flip side, I do believe that hardship shapes you and is important in our lives and I'm grateful for the giants I've had to slay to have the successes I've had. I add positive sayings throughout my artwork and I also love making up cryptic quotes to incorporate in my art. I love the idea of someone owning some artwork and having it on their walls for years and the. One day click to the real meaning of my quote.

What’s next for Allan Wrath?
I'm currently working on some art with Fiji Surfing Association who look after the island of Tavarua. It's still a work in progress at the moment but will be revealed at this years WCT Tavarua event. I'm now living in Australia and trying to build up business here. I'm stoked on all the local waves here. You can see why the Australians are some of the best surfers in the world. I have an online gallery that I'd love to turn into a physical store/gallery here in Sydney. It's on my heart to add to the culture and I reckon a gallery with eclectic boards, surf craft and art would be a good way to do it. I'd also love to teach my kids to surf next summer if they're keen.