Even after Myrtle Beach native Drew Brophy has become a big name in the surf and art cultures, he still maintains close ties with his roots here on the Strand.
I was a product of the skateboarding and surf explosion that happened in the early 90's. That, combined with living in Myrtle Beach during the tail end of that era, made it impossible to not know Drew Brophy's name. So I was really stoked when I saw this episode of his reality TV show (embedded above). The production quality is very good and the show gives behind the scenes insight to being a commercial artist in addition to Drew's working style. The video hosted on Vimeo was posted to his Facebook fan page where I first saw it. That's right- Drew's online presence and marketing is as impressive as his body of work.
You can thank his wife, Maria, for that. According to her blog, Drew wasn't even that hyped on making a TV show. It's a project they've been working on for years that now has regional distribution reaching over 4 million viewers. Maria has managed the Drew Brophy brand including his social media presence and licensing his artwork to major companies. Drew even has his own line of merchandise. Maria has also made her marketing and media skills available to artists as a consultant.
I'm sure Drew and I crossed paths once or twice before he followed the surf industry out to Southern California but I don't know him personally. I do know all of his immediate family in Myrtle Beach are a part of his parent's business, Grand Strand Floors. We also share a common close friend, Mark Allison of Surf City Surf Shop. (I'll write a story about Mark one day too. Let's just say for now that he's played a supporting role in both mine and Drew's life.) In a recent interview, Drew credited Mark with being his first paid commission to draw polar bears for a wetsuit ad. I knew Mark could give me some good insight on what he was like as a kid and how he came into his own.
"I just talked to him last week!"
Mark Allison, Surf City Surf Shop
"Drew was the youngest of the kids and I think his parents were just worn out by the time he came around", Allison recalls. "He was allowed to be extremely creative. Most people don't realize he's a talented musician too. He had freedom to express himself. I went into his room one time and he had drawn on everything- from the walls to the window casings. He basically tattooed the entire inside of his room."
He also surfed on the Surf City Surf Team back in the day when they traveled all over the place to compete. "He loved the big waves. He was the kid that wanted the biggest surf," Mark said, "but I think he chilled out on that a little bit now that he's got a family to provide for."
Mark also mentioned that he and Drew are trying to coordinate a time in the Summer where Drew can come hang out at the new Surf City location and make art for the locals. I'm sure you'll be the first to know if you "like" his Facebook page.