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Intervju med Andrew Kidman
Publicerad onsdag 15 september 2010 av Andreas LinnellInnehåll / Artiklar

Boards in the shoreline. Foto: Andrew Kidman

Boards in the shoreline. Foto: Andrew Kidman

Lördagen den 18:e September ställer Andrew Kidman ut foton och prints från sin bok Ether på LO-FI Collective i Sydney. Som stokad initiativtagare till utställningen ordnade jag självklart till en exklusiv intervju för Surfsveriges läsare.

In 1996, Andrew Kidman blindsided the surfing world with Litmus, a film made with a group of friends under the enigmatic collective name The Val Dusty Experiment. Raw and unpolished, it spoke volumes to surfers all over the world who felt removed from the amped up, high performance surf punk porn that flooded the market at the time. Rather than a commercial showcase, Litmus was born from the of love of the ocean and dared defy the monolithic surf industry through the simple words of Wayne Lynch – surfing’s not young anymore.

Since then Andrew Kidman has gone on to not only produce more movies (most notably the beautiful Glass Love in 2004), making him without a doubt one of the most influential Australian surf film makers of all time, but also equally touching photography, paintings, screen prints and music.

In 2007 he published the book Ether in limited release, a retrospective containing over 20 years of photographs, interviews, stories and art.

Skip Fry. Foto: Andrew Kidman

Skip Fry. Foto: Andrew Kidman

How did 'Ether' come about?

I wanted to catalogue the work I had done on film. Digital photography has changed the landscape completely and wanted to have a record of what I'd done using film as a medium. I talked to Kirk Gee at Consafos Press about it and he wanted to make it happen, he's done books with Glen E Friedman, so he understands about making beautiful artful things.

While Ether is both an impressive retrospective and achievement, for you it's a book of memories. Which ones stand out for you?

All of them really. Spending time with Skip Frye, he's one of my favourite people on the planet. I really love him, he's been so kind and gracious to me and my family over the years. I wished he lived next door. He went to Rincon a couple of years ago to celebrate his 50 years of surfing, I was there with him, we just went surfing for three days, surfing and sitting on the point. It's one of the best things that's ever happened in my life.

What was the Val Dusty Experiment and what happened to that particular collaboration?

Val Dusty was Jon Frank, Mark Sutherland, Rose Sutherland, Chris Pellen and me. We were like a band that used to sit around on the back porch in Paddington and play music into the night, just writing songs and having fun. We played a few shows at the pubs around Sydney around '94. The we recorded an album and Jon and I hit the road to film what would eventually become Litmus. We were just a group of friends really that created things together. What happened to Val Dusty? Marriage, children financial pressures, we all went our own ways to keep what we believed in going. We're all still doing it really. Jon still takes photos and makes films. Mark is still doing his art and Gonad Man, Rosie is still making records and Pellen makes the best pizza on the North Coast at Milk and Honey – I'm eating leftovers right now!

When Litmus came out it went against the grain of all other surf films produced at the time, and sparked a renewed appreciation for surfings' past. Did you ever imagine it would resonate through the surfing world the way it did?

I thought it would resonate with people. Anyone that surfs understands that Litmus was about core surfing and core values in life, so I wasn't surprised when it touched people. We made it from our hearts about something we loved, not for commercial reasons.

What other films inspired you at the time?

Pacific Vibrations, Mark Sutherland's animation Dream, Bodywork (a film about the funeral industry).

Partially carried on from Litmus, one of the main themes of Glass Love was the generational lineage of surfing, specifically in the Curren / Purchase families. Is that a theme you'll continue to explore further in future projects?

No. I'm working on something completely different for this next project.

The film Last Hope was a collaborative effort. How did that come about?

Through Aaron Curnow at Spunk records. He released Glass Love and asked me if I'd be interested in making collaborative film with some of the artists he represents. Aaron is a good friend of mine so we made it work. The best thing about this experience for me is bringing the films to life with a live score. We've been doing this with the band I play with The Windy Hills, Holly Throsby and Greg Walker from Machine Translations, it's been so much fun to do.

There's a pretty healthy and inspiring underground movement of film makers that has emerged in the last few years, such as Richard Kenvin and Patrick Trefz in the States who both contributed to Last Hope. Do you have any other favourites? Who's your biggest inspiration at the moment?

To be completely honest I don't have much time to look at other stuff, I have a young family and between looking after them, trying to earn a dollar, playing in the band and surfing I'm pretty well locked up with time. I guess my friends and family are the most inspiring people I know, because I'm close to them and we share life experiences. I'm inspired by people that keep the creative dream alive by continuing to follow their passions regardless of where it leaves them. Mark Sutherland, Dave Parmenter, George Greenough. There's a lot of people I'm inspired by, mainly musicians though because I understand how hard it is.

Rumour has it you're working on a new film project at the moment, can you tell us about it?

Not really. I'm not even sure what it's about myself, hopefully I'll be done with it in a month and I'll be able to tell you.

When can we expect it to be released?

Late November if I can get my shit together. If not, well later than that.

You work across a huge range of media, from photo journalism to movies, painting and music - do you have a favourite?


Are you completely removed from the commercial and competitive side of surfing or do you secretly indulge in live streams from the ASP world tour?

Not at all. I see it all. I love watching what the surfers on the pro tour do on those waves. Some of it is incredible. Some of it is lame, like the Rodeo Flip, there are kids doing those in the local shorebreak. It takes years to develop style, power and positioning. The subjective nature of the judging is a hard one, I'm not sure they can do it any other way, surfing is evolving at such an intense pace that manoeuvres are invented and surpassed within weeks. Maybe some of it is not that hard but it looks spectacular so the judges reward it more highly. I personally like to see power and rail surfing and I still think this is the hardest thing to do.

Who is your favourite surfer to simply sit and watch?

Andy Irons, Chris Davidson, Dane Reynolds can be pretty mind blowing. He has youth on his side. I still love watching BK, Mark Liddell, Simon Anderson, Shaun at off the wall on single fins, MP, Laird Hamilton, Derek Hynd is mind blowing as well, the finless stuff he's doing is a whole new way to surf that no-one has ever thought of before, he's invented it, it's awesome.

What's next for you?

I gotta go pick the kids up from school. New website launching next week. That has been a shitload of work.


Andrew Kidman is exhibiting works from Ether at LO-FI Collective in Sydney on Saturday 18th of September, from 6 pm.


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