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.”
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.