Creative, dad, surfer, and ocean enthusiast, Gabe Sullivan, has a true passion for not only catching waves, but capturing them through a lens so it lasts forever. Sullivan, a Laguna Beach local, is thrilled to be part of this year’s Redo Vintage and Maker’s Market where he will be showcasing his photography. It all began at the age of 10, with a 35mm camera given to him by his Step-Dad and a love for taking photos of his pet cats. Today, his biggest and certainly most treasured subject matter is his son, Elijah.
When asked what he needed to stay inspired, Sullivan’s face lit up with pure stoke. “I really enjoy being in the water. My son and I both love to surf, he’s been surfing down at Doheny since he was about 4. So, I've really been enjoying taking photos of him in the water, on the board, just evolving and growing as a surfer. I feel like that's my favorite piece to my work. Watching him find his own style and love for the ocean, it keeps me inspired each day” Sullivan shared. “He's been getting into photography now too, so we've been going out together with water housing and shooting photos. It’s really cool to be able to share the same passions as your son”.
Sullivan studied photojournalism in college. Soon after, he jumped head first into the world of surf creatives and straight down the coast to sunny Orange County. “I got an internship at Surfer Magazine and ended up working there for a while”. It was during this time he met and worked alongside REDO’s founder and creative mastermind, Randy Hild. “Randy is awesome, not just because of what he can do creatively, he’s just a fun guy. Everyone wants to be around him. Everyone wants to learn from him”.
Mirroring his adventurous lifestyle, Sullivan rides the waves of his creative interests. “Before, my work was heavily art directed, so it's been fun to experiment with some more abstract moody stuff lately. Elijah and I have really been into capturing the textures and colors on the surface of the ocean. It’s fun to explore that with him”. Sullivan’s journey as an artist has allowed him to taste test a variety of mediums. His experience with videography, creative directing, photography, design, and branding keeps him on his toes, tackling projects from all different realms.
This year at REDO, will be sharing a collection of ocean inspired photography, printed on a textured Cotton Rag paper. Sullivan shared, “I’m really excited to be a part of REDO this year. I’m looking forward to connecting with the community”.
Dad, surfer, friend, and true creative at heart; Sullivan is one of a kind. Between the love for his son and the peace he finds in the water, inspiration is everywhere he is. “I tend to have more energy in the morning, but when I'm in the flow of a project I tend to work through the night until it's done. Once I'm on a roll, I prefer to keep going.” Sullivan continues, “I typically shoot with a Canon DSLR 35mm and a Canon A1. Recently I got a new camera from a friend that’s been fun to play with. It’s a Pentacon Six TL, a single lens, medium format. Just a beautiful camera. When I first got it, half the roll had been used by the previous owner, so I don't even know what is or what could be on it. I’m very excited to find out”.
Sullivan’s home sits along the historic Laguna Beach hillside, overlooking the Southern California coast, with his old VW van parked in the driveway. His curiosity and hunger for life is illuminating, contagious, all the while keeping it calm and cool. I was lucky enough to watch Gabe snap the last exposures from this Pentacon mystery roll. His patience and gentleness with the camera, framing the perfect shot, is one of a true artist. Even if I never find out what was on that first half of the roll, I can say I met someone who’s passion and eagerness to create every day, reminded me to do the same. I would consider that to be the luckiest gift of all.
You can find Gabe Sullivan on instagram at @curiousgabe and at the REDO Vintage & Maker’s Market on August 22nd.
Dana Point Restaurant: