Local ‘surf’ artists agree Blue Realm is for everybody

“Blue Realm,” an art show that will “explore the depths and shallows of the seas and the environments around them,” opens with a reception from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. May 15 at at 111 Chesterfield Dr. in Cardiff,



A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit San Diego Coastkeeper and its work to protect the oceans.

The five area artists creating the exhibit are La Jolla High School graduates Ashley Francomb and Susan Wickstrand-Roche, Skye Walker, Kris Degrazio and UCSD grad Kevin Roche.

The Light caught up with Wickstrand-Roche to learn more about the show.

How did ‘Blue Realm’ come about?

I think it was a synergy of events just all naturally falling into place. After visiting my gallery, graphic artist Skye Walker said, “We should do a show together some day.” A few months later, my husband and I ran into twin sisters Ashley Francomb and Kris Degrazio at La Paloma Theater where we were all seeing a surf film, and I remembered they suggested having a show with us, too.

I asked my husband, photographer Kevin Roche, if we could add his photography, since he has some amazing photos he’s captured from Cyrus Sutton’s film “Stoked & Broke” (not yet released), featuring local surf phenom Ryan Burch, La Jollan Lucas Dirkse, amazing shaper and surfer Richard Kenvin, and others.

Kevin has been working with Scott Bass shooting the “Sacred Craft” event capturing beautiful images of people like Steve Pezman, Donald Takayama, Gerry Lopez, Mark Richards, Dick Brewer, Rusty Preisendorfer, Bill Stewart, Mike Hynson of “Endless Summer,” Brad Gerlach, master shaper Renny Yater, Shaun Tomson, Jeff Clark, John Peck, Sam George and this year’s winner of the shape-off, Wayne Rich, to name only a few. We’ll have access to those portraits, too.

How are you marketing the exhibit?

DeGrazio created a website for the show at

Kevin shot the promotional press photos and Skye found the location in Cardiff. We thought it’d be cool to be across from Patagonia in artist Andy Davis’ old space that had ocean views of Cardiff to boot. Cardiff is near and dear to our hearts, as Kevin and I used to live down the street from each other when dating (commuting via walking), and Skye still lives in Cardiff. Ashley and Kris are in Solana Beach and Del Mar, both near the ocean.

When Skye, Ashley and I all sat down at Java Depot one day to discuss the show, it was clear that the ocean was the common thread running through all of our lives and work. Skye came up with the name. I suggested we involve a nonprofit charity near and dear to my friends’ and family’s hearts — San Diego Coastkeeper.

We’ve worked closely with Megan Baehrens of Coastkeeper to subtly educate others that “green” receptions can be done for their art shows, too — no plastic water bottles, no coral of any kind in the artworks, sending out most of the invites paperless through e-mails, etc. On opening night, anyone who buys an artwork will get an annual membership to Coastkeeper and a portion of the proceeds will go to it as well.

A couple of weeks ago, another serendipitous event occurred. I had the pleasure of creating the first-ever, one-of-a-kind collaborative art work for the show with legendary surf photographer Art Brewer. These pieces will be on hand along with an extra-special original artwork we created featuring Dave Rastovich on a reef in Indonesia and another one of Gerry Lopez at Pipe in the early ‘70s. It’s been a true honor, a total blast, and a pleasure working with Art. He is indeed one of the masters. He’ll be there on Saturday, along with famed surf photographer and friend, Jeff Divine.

What can visitors expect?

The show will run May 15-17. Sunday will be an Open House with music and food and additional artists will have work on display in an upstairs place, too. Sunday we’ll be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Monday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Saturday night opening is kid-friendly, as is Sunday and Monday. I think our 4-year-old believes it’s “her” art show, and she keeps telling me all the kids from preschool are coming. So parents: Come and bring the kids and don’t worry about a sitter. I will stock up on the organic juice boxes and healthy snacks!

Primo Beer is sponsoring us Saturday, and Chef Yapo of Yapo’s Home Catering will be preparing food for the event. Sue Muniak of Charles Krug Winery is helping us with the wines. Adrianne Smith Floral Design will provide our tropical florals. Almost everything has been donated or underwritten, and we thank everyone kind enough to participate. Our success is upon the shoulders of others.

Come visit us and share in the stoke.

Artist links