Solid surfing and art wrapped up in one

By Phil Mansfield |

John Glenn ain’t your average sun-bleached blonde haired surfer kid. Growing up surfing in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, he worked on his barrel riding abilities every winter off the OG Pier. When he became old enough to start working, he began life guarding every summer at the same beach he spent his childhood at; getting to surf a lot on the job too. Eventually picking up several sponsors from Fundamentally Unstable clothing, OG Surf Shop, and Bully’s, you can now find John busting huge front-side airs at Vilano in-between Graphic Design classes. This is where the ‘not so average’ part comes in.

John has always taken a liking to art, and lately, other people have taken a liking to his art as well. He seems to use his imagination to combine his two favorite things, surfing and art, in a way that many people can only wish they could. John says that Drew Brophy, an artist for …Lost surfboards, and his “bad ass style” is one of his earliest influences.

“When I was younger I used to draw a bunch of aliens for some reason. I ordered a …Lost surfboard because I liked the artwork they had on their boards. For my first custom board, I sent them a picture of an alien I drew, and they put it on my board. Then someone said I should just do it myself, so I bought some paint pens and did just that,” John recalls.

After a few years, and a lot of hours put into surfing and drawing, he began painting on his friends’ surfboards, and worked up his portfolio in the mean time. People began approaching John, willing to pay him to paint on their boards. Although John only accepts enough money to pay for the supplies, he admits people approaching him wanting his artwork on their boards is a good feeling.

A few other of John’s surfing and artistic influences include music such as State Radio and old …Lost surf movies such as 5′ 5” x 19 ¼ and The Decline. “State Radio has a strong political message; the lead singer is from the better known band, Dispatch, and they just talk about the war and what is going wrong in our country,” John says. “Then the …Lost videos are definitely my favorite, still. The surfing is awesome, and there’s so much funny stuff that I used to not understand when I was younger that I laugh at now. Those videos definitely influence my surfing. The art on the boards might have something to do with it too.” John also credits his neighbor from his hometown and fellow Flagler College student, Andrew Cohen, as being one of his surfing influences.

So although John misses getting barreled in front of his beloved O.G. Pier in a 5-millimeter wetsuit, it seems that Flagler was a good choice of schools for him. With all the surfing and art classes that require enough drawing to keep his creative motors running, he gets to do what he loves to do. That’s what it’s all about it, right?

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