Allan Wrath - Artist/ Illustrator/Designer

When and where did you first start surfing?
I bought my first board in New Zealand in 1997. It was a 6’3 Primal board. Was really yellowed and had a heap of dings. I bought it with money I earned planting seedling for the neighbour who sold pot plants at the markets. I learnt to fix my own boards making that board water tight. The smell of resin still reminds me of fixing that board in my drive when I was 14. My best mate at the time Paul Dent had a family friend who used to pick us up in an early 70’s Valiant and would take us surfing out to a beach called Muriwai on Aucklands west coast. 

What is it that you love about surfing?
Surfing is a lifestyle. You can be yourself and you are allowed to express who you are through your style, boards you ride, waves you surf.

Do you have a session that stands out as your most memorable?
Yeah, this one time me and a bunch of mates were out on Aucklands west coast at a remote spot called Whatipu. We slept in this huge cave along side these bogans that had a small fire going and were listening to Bob Marley on a portable radio. At about 3 am when we decided to go to sleep they put on back to back tracks of Sepultura. The next morning we were getting ready to head out for a wave and my mate Steve ripped the lid off a creamed rice can, cut his finger (really bad) and sprayed blood all over my pillow and all through the back of the van. He started fainting and fell on his ass in a puddle. Then someone said “who’s gonna take him to hospital”. All at once everyone turned and pretended to be putting their wetties on. He ended up getting 3 stitches and a jellybean.

When did you first start developing an interest in art?
I decided I was going to be an artist when I was 6. We had just moved back from Perth, WA and my grandad was teaching me about Michalangleo. From that moment I decided I was going to be an artist.


Is it something that you had always wanted to make a career out of?
Yeah I love being creative. In the last few years I have had to run my own company to make it possible to be as creative as possible. So I have been focusing on learning business, which doesn’t come naturally. I am lucky enough to be able to make money as an artist, designer and illustrator. It has taken me 8 years to get enough confidence and credibility to venture out on my own.

How would you explain your style?
My style is based mainly around drawing. I have had to learn to vectorize my work due to the commercial demand from advertising agencies. I draw a lot of lettering also which I love.

What kind of things influence the work that you do?
I find that whatever interests me will come out in my illos. I have this spot within my instagram account where a bunch of illos in a row are all incorporating asymmetrical boards. It was the same week I watched ‘The trial and error of Ryan Burch’. 

Can you tell us a little bit about Bamboo studio and what you do there?
Bamboo Studio is an umbrella brand that covers everything I do creatively. Design, advertising, branding, illustration, photography, video. 


What is it that you love about your job?
I would be happy to do it even if I wasn’t getting paid to. I love creating and being able to give my family a good life is a bonus.

Do you have any advice for any aspiring artists/ illustrators/ designers out there?
Whatever you are doing while procrastinating is a pretty good indication to what you should be doing to make money. Go on holidays, stay off the computer as much as you can, simplify, delegate and breathe.

Where can we find you online?


Posted by: Matthew Ryan, on October 9, 2014
Categories: Interviews