Native son Drew Brophy returns for art retrospective

The Myrtle Beach Art museum drew over a thousand folks today for the opening of the Drew Brophy Retrospective.

Brophy, a Myrtle Beach native and 1989 graduate of Myrtle Beach High School, has spent that last few decades becoming one of the most well-known surf and lifestyle artists around the word. His easily recognizable style continues to evolve, and the retrospect takes the visitor through that process of change.

Friends, relatives, and art lovers gathered in each room as Brophy described the works, “It’s a big moment. A lot of people thought I just painted surfboards, and had no idea the scope and magnitude of the things I’ve done. It’s hard to get that out to everyone, but this museum show is a great way to do it. This is a timeline that shows where I’ve been, and where I’m going, and it feels good,” Brophy said.

Art museum executive director Patricia Goodwin strolled through the 7 room gallery, clearly enjoying the turnout. “For every museum, you have your wish list,” Goodwin said. “Drew Brophy has been on my personal wish list for 10 years. This is a retrospective exhibit. So, we really start with Drew as just a little kid. He’s gone from Myrtle Beach High School to a world renowned artist, and we are proud to present the first ever Drew Brophy Retrospective.”

Outside on the lawn, various surf charities were setup, along with live music and food, creating a celebration atmosphere for the returning native son.

“It feels good to come back and share what I’ve been doing for the last 30 years and to see all the friends that got me to where I am,” Brophy said.

Brophy’s wife Maria, a nationally celebrated art consultant, described the day as a dream come true for her and the family. Although Drew is mostly known for surf art, his work has been used around the world for so many other things, “What makes this so important for us, while a lot of people know Drew is an artist and they know he paints surfboards and he designs T-shirts.  Until today, I don’t think they really understood the scope of these decades of creating art.”

The Brophy’s began selecting pieces for the show nearly 8 months ago, “That was Drew’s job. To point to the art and say that this was a point in time that the art changed, or the direction changed, or he grew.  Then we had to track down the art,” Maria said.

“Any artist that walks through this exhibit is going to be inspired,” she continued. “What they should get from this is that you can start out not that great. You can begin with a goal of being a master, but it takes time and dedication. You don’t have to be great to start; you just have to keep going.”

The tour takes visitors through the early pieces, includes plenty of sketches, and finishes with Brophy’s expansion into what some call “sacred geometry” art. Brophy isn’t a fan of that phrase, but instead focuses on how everything comes back around, and how we are all connected inside and in the community. “I always looked at art as I was just making things look cool,” Brophy said. “Now I want to create things that make people want to think.”

The exhibit is open through September 16th. Workshops are planned for the next week featuring Brophy. Find the schedule online here.

Photos by Tyler Watkins

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