Raised in Southern California, Dennis Jarvis started airbrushing surfboards as a teenager. A makeshift spray booth was in his bedroom at the time and the racks were his mother’s ironing board. Drawn to conflicting colors and graphic designs, Jarvis carved out a career as an airbrush artist, first selling his creative designs to local South Bay surf shops. His then art teacher at Mira Costa High School, John Jancar, noticed his talent and mentored him, explaining that, “simplicity is the key to a good design,” a mantra Jarvis holds throughout his career. As a young man, Jarvis worked as an artist, craftsman, shaper and athlete, traveling the world as a pro-surfer. From his winnings he returned and established Spyder Surf in his hometown of Hermosa Beach, a family-owned company now celebrating its 40th year. His skills originate from the thousands of hours shaping (sculpting) and painting surfboards. With Spyder Surf as his launching point, Jarvis continues to receive honors from the public, including recent thirteen-time winner of Shaper of the Year; inductee to the Surfer’s Hall of Fame; distinguished alumni at Mira Costa High School’s Hall of Fame and more magazine covers than any other Los Angeles based surfboard company since the 1960’s. Starting with an airbrush, Jarvis continues to have a historical impact on the graphic art that defines surf, skate and snowboard culture.
With Spyder Surf brand launching his art onto the world’s stage, Jarvis became sought after as a visual and conceptual artist. Filmmakers like James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow commissioned Jarvis to create dynamic visuals for the film Point Break. That experience led him to work behind the camera as Concept Designer and Creative Designer for television and film which opened the door to him being awarded for his work as a producer and director. Jarvis was notably commissioned by designer Clive Wilkenson to create a flowing surf themed feel for the world-renowned advertising agency Chiat Day in Marina del Rey. Other commissions include collaborations with internationally known Environmentalist Artist Ed Massey and Snapchat bringing him in to create a lifestyle atmosphere in their Santa Monica complexes.
Jarvis was inspired to become an artist-gallery owner from many sources, including other cultural pioneers like graffiti artist and Los Angeles gallery owner, Kelly “RISK” Gravel whose art covers the exterior of Gallery 208. Other artistic influences include the work of Phil Roberts and Rolland Berry in addition to the expressive Color Field movement dating back to the 1940’s with Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko and Frank Stella.
The main source of inspiration is rooted in his family. Jarvis still resides in his hometown of Hermosa Beach with his wife and three children while continuing to shape and paint surfboards for world-wide competitive athletes as well as local groms just starting out on the waves.