Artist Profile: Gary Irving

Gary Irving creates photographs that elicit emotion and have a style all their own. Santa Cruz Waves got a chance to ask Gary about his life and his photography. Artist Profile: Gary Irving Santa Cruz Waves: How long have you been in the United States and where did you grow up? Gary Irving: I grew up in Wales, Great Britain. On the 4th of July I moved to the States, 20 years ago. Bloody hell, where does the time go? SCW: What brought you to Santa Cruz? GI: We had a lot of American shows on TV when I was growing up—Knight Rider, Fall Guy, Bay Watch, just to mention a few. Also my uncle lived in San Diego. But The Lost Boys movie is what brought me to Santa Cruz. My friend and I saw that movie and decided to check out the States for a vacation … I never left. SCW: How long have you been doing photography and what inspired you to start taking photos? GI: I’ve been doing photography seriously for about five years now. I started using a camera many years ago to take reference photos for my artwork. Artist Profile: Gary Irving SCW: When and how did you establish your style? GI: I’m still working on my style. I think it’s always evolving. Many years ago, I did a lot of airbrush work on cars, surfboards, walls … anything really that had a surface. I think that has influenced my photography a lot. SCW: What inspires you most about taking photos? GI: I get a lot of inspiration from looking at other people’s images, whether it’s a drawing, painting or photography. There’s lots of great work out there and, with the help of social media, the endless river of inspiration keeps flowing. SCW: Did you go to formal school for photography? GI: I did go to college, but not for long. My teachers booted me out and said I’d never be any good or get anywhere with my art or photography. I do use for online Photoshop lessons, but other than that there has been a lot of trial and error. I’m still making mistakes. SCW: On average, how much time do you spend on one of your stylized images? GI: I can spend anywhere from a few hours to 60 hours on the more intricate images. I think I’m getting faster. SCW: What is your preferred editing software? GI: My primary programs are Photoshop, Photomatix Pro and some of the NIC software like Color FX Pro. I also use a Wacom Tablet—I couldn’t live without it. I use Photoshop a lot. Like … a lot. Artist Profile: Gary Irving SCW: How do you feel about other people’s reactions to your images? GI: People’s reactions to my work are so different. The other day I had a conversation with a gentleman who was infuriated with an image of mine and wanted it removed right away from my show at the Wrigley building. Then, within an hour, I had a conversation with another gentleman who thought it was the best thing he had ever seen. We were talking about the same image. SCW: Tell me a bit about the Light Side and Dark Side. GI: Well, I have many images on my website. They range from beautiful landscapes to beautiful zombie-scapes. I’ve split my website into two sides, one side is the Light and the other is the Dark. That gives the viewer the option to choose. I didn’t want to scare any little old ladies who want to look at landscapes and come across zombies. I guess you could say it’s the yin and yang of my work. SCW: How long have you been surfing? GI: I started surfing in Wales when I was about 12 years old. I wasn’t that serious about surfing until I went to collage and that’s probably the reason I got kicked out. I would show up early in the morning, meet some friends in the canteen whilst waiting for my folks to go to work, then go home and grab my board and go surf all day. Good times! SCW: What are some of your favorite places to surf? GI: My favorite places to surf would be here in Santa Cruz, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. SCW: What type of board do you usually ride? GI: I mostly ride my 9’8” GP log. I do own a few other longboards. They range from nine to 10 feet. I also shortboard, but mainly when I go on vacation. I have a Hull made by Source Surfboards, which is one of the funniest surfboards out of the lot. SCW: What are some of your other favorite sports? GI: If I’m not surfing? I like to ride my mountain bike [and do] archery and martial arts. Artist Profile: Gary Irving For more information about Gary Irving and to see his work, visit

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Yvonne Falk

About Yvonne Falk

I take photos, manage and do admin for Santa Cruz Waves. Event photography is my specialty. I am versatile and will also take nature, landscape, portraits, food, sports, and advertisement shots. I love what I do!

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