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Introducing Josh Serafin

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Island Time

~ Josh Serafin

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Breakin Through

~ Josh Serafin


~Josh Serafin

We’re so fortunate LJAWF founder, Sherry Ahern, stumbled across artist

Josh Serafin many years ago. His creations transport us to a place of calm, beauty and wonder. Serafin is a painter, bronze sculptor and photographer. His initial paintings depicted the surf lifestyle and he quickly became a leader in the beach culture art movement. As his subject matter evolved so did his painting surface, moving from canvas, to panel, to glass where he became a master in the ancient art of reverse technique painting. He’s comfortable with oil paints and other mediums which he manipulates with brushes, fingers and pallet knives creating movement, emotion and awe in his artwork.

We caught up with him recently and asked him a couple questions about life in 2020, which you’ll find below. In the interim, you can also find his work on his website Art by Serafin, Instagram and Facebook.

What does the following quote from Napoleon Hill mean to you? "The starting point of all achievement is desire."


“For me, without desire there would be nothing to push me towards achievement. And frankly, life would be boring. I feel like desire is in each and every one of us. What to focus your desire on is another thing. 

When I first set off to college I enrolled in all business management classes. After the first week I felt so disconnected and bored with the material that I had to go for what I desired. It wasn't easy but I had such a strong feeling of wanting to be an artist that I switched all my classes to art. The phone call home wasn’t easy but my supportive parents [thought] that I should go with my instincts. So I would say desire and a lot of hard work helped make my dream job come true.”

My Octopus Teacher (Netflix) has been a hit with viewers during Covid-time. Your art reflects marine life so vividly. What about the ocean and marine life resonates with you?


“Ever since I can remember, all I needed was the beach to bring me happiness. And, to this day it still does. I would say my connection with marine life really started when my dad and grandpa would take my brother and [me] surf fishing. It was more than just fishing. It was an adventure on the coastline from Huntington Beach to Santa Barbara and sometimes in between. 

“I was introduced to dawn patrol, a time of the day that I've come to love. Often there wouldn’t be a soul around. It feels like the beach is waking up with you. This is the only time my five basic senses are always heightened. No distractions, just pure enjoyment of what our coast has to offer. 

“For instance, digging for sand crabs to find my hands full of live bait. Witnessing the pelican beeline head first into the ocean to catch its meal.  And to continue being at awe as the pelican flips the fish around so it could gulp it down headfirst! To watch a pod of dolphins break the sheet glass ocean surface just several yards away. To comb through tide pools that would blow my mind at every other step. These are just a few occurrences that would fill me with pure joy. 

“But when we did catch fish, I must add that the ultimate high was catching a halibut. Any fish [actually] made the day that much better. I was so intrigued with the shape, color, and textures of each fish we reeled up onto the sand, and for the big ones that snapped our line or tangled themselves in kelp patties. Every aspect of these trips were invigorating and inspiring. I still enjoy surf fishing more than heading out on a boat. 

“My marine life imagery comes from fish I catch, snorkeling, and my imagination. I've seen a couple shark fins in my life surfing, many sharks in large-scale aquariums, and I’ve watched Shark Week. But I have no desire to see one face to face in their natural habit if I can avoid it. However, I love painting them. As an expressionist painter I feed off emotions and to me sharks resonate many emotions. So, I dig into my imagination and let the paint and gold leaf take control.”  

There is a quote about achievement -"success is not an activity but a process". How has this pertained to your life? And, how is it pertaining to your life in Covid-time?

“Sports have played an important role in my life ever since I was very young. I was involved in baseball, basketball, football and volleyball. This was back when we could play several sports and it was manageable and wouldn’t be frowned upon. I loved every minute of every sport I played. I wanted to play in every game so I practiced hard and became a good enough athlete to make this happen. But it was all about the process. Learning the strategies of the game was just as important to me as taking extra batting practice, shooting extra hoops after dinner, or working on my handsets as I would lie on my bed at night. The more I practiced, the more confident I became. I was fortunate to experience team victories from time to time. However, more importantly, I felt like I had succeeded more often than not in my personal journey as an athlete.  What I learned through sports has influenced me to be the person I am today.


“Covid has thrown a curve ball at my career but not my life. Just like in sports you go through hard times. Slumps, fatigue, losing, injury and so on. Through various adjustments and keeping a positive mind set, I learned to get through it. Sometimes we need the downs and the challenges to build character and make us stronger at what we’re trying to achieve.  

“For example, the 2007-2008 financial crisis hit Art by Serafin real bad! But, I had time to reflect and explore in my studio and this is when I came up with painting on glass using gold and silver leaf. In retrospect, it actually did well for Art by Serafin and my personal journey as an artist. 

“Covid on the other hand has been different. It’s been more frustrating than anything. I opened my first hometown gallery in December 2019 in the Hilton Waterfront Resort on PCH. Right across the street from the place that brings me pure joy, the beach. Great employee vibe, and heck, right down the street from my home and studio. Then BAM!  COVID-19 shuts the world down. Two months open and my dream gallery gets forced shut by a contagious respiratory illness. What the f?  And to top it off, all art shows are cancelled for the entire year. This is more than a curveball!

“Time to adjust, pivot, and find the silver lining in this craziness. For my business, I went directly to the computer and created my first ever online art show. It turned out alright but still nothing can compare to a gallery show night. It also gave me an opportunity to reach out to nine artists that I have come to love and ask if they wanted to be in my gallery. All nine were on board and I had an original or two from each one of them within a week. Commission paintings have also picked up. I think this has given families more time to talk about what they want on their walls.


“Outside of work has been the real silver lining for me. I’ve been able to spend that much more time with my wife Jamie and two teenage daughters Lily and Molly.  Knowing this pandemic will fade some day; why not take advantage of this unique time.  Maybe it’s a sign to tell us all to slow down!” 

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