Jim Davidson/ Spray Artist

Posted: June 20, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Jim Davidson  grew up with a spray can in his hand. At the age of 12 years he found surfing … just starting high school and meeting a new group of mates was the key , they were all psyched on catching the next wave !!! The “mang gang” was formed in 1966 , a bunch of guys getting up at 4.00 am and riding pushbikes or hitch hiking to Cronulla beach , “the alley” was the spot , at that time uncrowded and no hassles from clubbies. They learned to surf , Jim had conned his father into buying a 9’6″ “Bonka” as they called it , coated in orange pigment and weighing about 20 kilos, and it cost the grand sum of $11.00 , it was a monster , jim was about to start “working” on surfboards . With his mate “scaba” (Peter Haling) they stripped the bonka and re-shaped it … ending up with a 4’6″ shorebreak special , then painted it with a red background and a spider over the whole of the deck , the very first paint job on a surfboard .

     From then on it all began , all Jim wanted to do , besides surf , was paint surfboards , pretty soon he coined the phrase ” if it stands still long enough I’ll paint it !!” He was still at high school when he started spraying boards at “JACKSON SURFBOARDS ” all these years later he still thanks “Jacko” for giving him a chance to mess a couple of boards up and as Jacko said “use all the bloody masking tape!!”

     In the 60’s surfers weren’t considered to be very acceptable , they were an wild mob who hung around the beach and had too much fun !!! long haired and flanno shirts , Jim’s dad called them “a bunch of long haired pansies” he fell short of bludgers , but he was thinking it !! Jim’s parents felt he could do better by going to university and getting a respectable career … that didn’t work . After dropping out and working a lot of dead end jobs … Jim deceided it was better to go back to the surfboard factories to self train and hone all his skills to become one of , only a couple of , surfboard spray artists in Sydney. And so it began , his illustrious career .

    In 1974 , he became GORDON & SMITH SURFBOARDS’ full time sprayman-artist , producing up to 100 surfboards a week , this gave him a lot of time to experiment and refine skills at the same time gathering as many skills and methods to produce so many designs , there was no training course and you can’t make mistakes on surfboard foam  you can’t rub out or paint over a mistake , it was a challenge to make every board a bit different to the rest and be stylish and saleable !!! Once he had the skills , people began recommending him to other manufacturers … how could he refuse , it was a passion to paint boards . There was JACKSON , EMERALD , SOUTHERN COMFORT , FORCE 9  in the Cronulla area , from south CARABINE , BYRNE BROTHERS , SKIPP , CHRISTIE soon word got to the northern beaches , BENNETT , ALOHA , CHANNEL ISLANDS , FRIAR TUCK , ISLAND-A-CLASSIC , NATURAL FLIGHT , MIDGET FARRELY and there were more boards generated by the pro-surfers , the board shapers and surfing identities TERRY RICHARDSON , THE BRONZED AUSSIES , PETER TOWNEND , CHEYNE HORAN , MARK OCCHILUPO , JIM BANKS , CRITTER BYRNE , MARK RICHARDS , BRAD MAYES , GRAHAM CASSIDY , ROSS AND DYLAN LONGBOTTOM , GARY HUGHES , ROSS MARSHALL and even MICHAEL PETERSON shaped a number of boards at GORDON &SMITH . It had always been a dream to move to the north coast , so in 1981 Jim and his wife moved to the North Coast. Jims work has appeared everywhere in the surf industry he has dedicated himself to the betterment of the art of surfing and beyond for the best part of his life. Below is one of his most best known artworks the The Storm Riders Movie  Poster.

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