Alexx Bishop of Ocean Beach holds one of her artworks. Courtesy photo

Ocean Beach resident Alexx Bishop said she remembers her first job working as a cashier at a barbecue restaurant. The owner of the eatery fired the then-16-year-old after two months because Bishop spent much of her time “doodling” rather than working.

“I think you need to go be an artist,” the restaurant owner told Bishop.

A few years and a pandemic later, Bishop is doing just that.

Bishop, a native of Texas who moved to San Diego three years ago, said she was laid off from her sales job as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Rather than dwell on the loss of her job, Bishop is spending her extra time doing what she loves best — repurposing old surfboards and turning them into masterpieces.

“Just before COVID-19 hit in March, I had put it out to the Ocean Beach community that I was looking for old, beat up surfboards no one wanted anymore to see if I could turn it into artwork,” Bishop said. “I had a few people respond and went to pick up the boards. They were dirty, cracked, broken, had lots of wax, and were in bad condition.”

Alexx Bishop works on a surfboard in Ocean Beach. Courtesy photo

The first art piece she made was inspired by an Australian surfboard artist.

“Once I posted (the finished artwork) on my Instagram page, I instantly got a commission from someone who lived in Arizona who frequented Ocean Beach’s Dog Beach and wanted to commemorate her time spent there,” Bishop said. “Once I had these two completed, I posted the finished products in an all-female travel group on Facebook and it completely took off. It was perfect timing for the response to be so huge, because I was officially let go from my 9-5 in June.”

Inspired by her parents and other artists, Bishop said she loves being able to take an unused item and turn it into a truly, beautiful piece.

“A big part of my artwork is the fact the surfboards are unsurfable and aren’t water-bound,” Bishop said. “They have been loved hard and surfed by San Diego locals, which I think adds so much more personality than if I went and bought new boards for the artwork. I also love the fact I am helping to clean up the earth by up-cycling something considered to be trash.”

Bishop said she hopes to continue her art career for as long as possible.

“I am so passionate about what I am doing and have a fire that has never been ignited before this opportunity presented itself,” Bishop said. “I have learned the office life isn’t for everyone, and it was really draining me. I would feel immensely proud of myself if this became my ‘new normal’ past COVID, and I will work as hard as I physically can to make sure I can stay doing what I am doing now. I am going all in on this and it’s how I am paying my bills now, I am determined to grow this business and do it full-time.

“I interpret this as a sign from the universe. Getting let go from my job was a huge opportunity to take on something that fills me with love and passion every single day.”

Follow Alexx Bishop on Instagram at @xandiegoart.

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