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Tom Rogo

Oil on canvas

Tom Rogo’s paintings capture the atmosphere of midcentury surf culture. A simpler time of rusty old cars and the single fins. Rogo grew up in southern California during the 1950s and ‘60s, a time when surfers were closer akin to beatniks than hippies.

Rogo began drawing at a young age, he later studied architecture in college to pursue a career in design. He began surfing in elementary school and bought his own beat up surf board by middle school. He credits surf film maker, Bruce Brown, for getting him into both surfing and motorcycling. Bruce Brown also gave Rogo’s award winning children’s book, The Surfrider: a Midwestern Odyssey, a glowing review. Rogo still goes back to the early Brown surf flicks for inspiration and painting ideas. His representational style is illustrative and typically contains a strong story narrative. He likes the viewer to imagine their own story line, that keeps it more fun and personal. He says illustators from the Golden Age have always been a big influence on his work. Also, artist Ed Hooper’s introspective work has been a sutle influence, minus the darker overtones. While his palette is simple, Rogo’s work is more upbeat, playful, and he says “Leave the dark stuff of Hollywood.”