Painting meets its muse

PSYCHEDELIC: Ben Godfrey’s portrait of Gerry Lopez.
PSYCHEDELIC: Ben Godfrey’s portrait of Gerry Lopez.

A FEW months back, local artist and photographer Ben Godfrey entered Surfing World magazine's "Archibald Prize for surfing", The Worthys, with a psychedelic portrait of 1970s surf god Gerry Lopez.

It was selected as one of the 20 finalists in the competition and went on exhibition in Sydney.

Ben didn't make it back to pick up the portrait post- exhibition, so it went to the Surfing World office.

As it sat on the wall, it planted a seed in art director Matty Graham's mind - he would have to take it to "meet" the man himself when he was next in the country.

The opportunity arose one Sunday when Gerry was in Australia and watching the Super Bowl.

The portrait was plucked from the wall and taken for its introduction.

"Oh wow, cool. Look how young I look," Gerry said.

He took home a copy of the artwork, which is presumably now hanging in his Oregon home.

The story of the portrait has now been recounted in this month's "Gerry Lopez" edition of Surfing World, and to top it all off, Ben received the following email just last week.

"Hi Ben - don't know if I said thanks or not but in case I didn't, thank you for doing that cool painting. Mahalo and aloha. Gerry."

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