Everybody’s BROza: Photographer Brent Broza Profile [PHOTOS]
Photos by Brent Broza
On the border of Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach a few paces from the legendary “Critters” (now known as the North End Bar & Restaurant) that’s been serving suds and spirits for over a half century, Photographer Brent Broza stakes claim to an area that continually inspires him
Perched on the walls of Brent Broza’s modest beach bungalow are works of his favorite photographers, portraits of inspirational people like the Clash’s Joe Strummer and art by Obey artist Shepard Fairey (Obama’s ‘Hope’), Banksy, Mark Ryden & Raymond Pettibon. His Sonos music system plays a shuffle of ‘60s surf music with the Beach Boys and Ventures mixed with some punk rock bands like Black Flag, Descendents & Pennywise.
He points out the recently purchased picnic table we were sitting on in his backyard, a haven for summertime BBQs and winter log burnings. “I’m going to have Craola tag up the top.”
“Craola” is Greg Simkins, a personal friend of Broza’s. The popular artist who just released a new art book “The Outside,” was to turn discounted lawn furniture into art.
With 20 years as a distributor of fine wines, Broza didn’t set out to be a photographer.
“In 2008, I moved back from Maui to help care for my dad, who had terminal cancer. At his house I noticed a new camera that he really hadn’t used.”
Broza pulled out two snapshots of his Pops — one of him cruising the Avenues in Redondo Beach circa 1965, the other posing ten toes on the nose in Hawaii.
“I borrowed the camera and thought I would go out and take a few sunset and surf shots as a form relaxation during a very emotional time,” he said. “After snapping several shots over the next few days, I realized that the photography thing was really cool and a nice way to release some creativity.”
Broza said his Pops always had some sort of camera lying around.
“At the time, I didn’t realize it, he said. “But I am grateful that he left me this gift on his way out.”
Naturally, he gravitated toward shooting surfing, music, landscape, and beach lifestyle.
“I don’t really have an agenda and run with spontaneity,” he said. “This might sound like a cliché, but I capture what my eye sees.”
His day job is a full time deal with his shooting time being shuffled between before and after work and the weekends.
“Ideally I seek out a unique angle or time to really capture a shot,” he said.
This is shown through Broza’s unique vantage points of local surf spots like El Porto and of a maxing swell breaking at Tankers.
“But, if a certain spot is just going off,” he said. “I’ll be right there with the crew.”
His first solo show was in 2010, at Sangria (now American Junkie) on Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “I ended up selling all my pieces and for that, I am very appreciative.”
Since then, he’s done a few group art shows. His work is currently shown at Riley Arts Gallery in downtown Manhattan Beach, Bliss 101 in Encinitas, El Gringo’s all over the SouthBay, and he recently had a six month installation at Fox Studios in Los Angeles. He’s also created multiple fundraisers, donating proceeds to Jon Rose’s “Waves for Water” Foundation benefiting the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief efforts in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy relief in 2012.
“I always try to give back when I can,” he said.
Broza’s work is characterized by nostalgic warmth that focuses on a central subject and the environment surrounding it.
“I’ve always been into the vintage feel of the ‘50s and ‘60s,” he said.
Another Broza characteristic is capturing emotion. An example is his shot of Pennywise’s last LA show in 2009, before lead singer Jim Lindberg left the band.
“At the end of the show, Fletcher Dragge called for a group hug on the stage. I had seen them play several times since the band’s beginning and had never seen them do that,” Broza said. “So I jumped from backstage and got shots of them doing a group hug, celebrating over 20 years of performing together.”
Growing up with Broza, Matix Clothing rep Steve Meidroth took notice of his friend’s SouthBay work and got the word to Matix president and Manhattan Beach local Brian Dunlap. Broza’s images for Matix can be seen on show windows and showroom floors of surf shops throughout the SouthBay as well as on limited edition T-shirts.
“I’d been wearing Matix gear for 10 years,” He said. “It was really cool that we ended up connecting on this clothing project.”
Next up for Broza is the California Cruisin’ Art Show with Tricia Strickfaden and Rob Waxman at the CreativeArtsCenter in Manhattan Beach this Friday, July 12th and runs through August 15th. The CreativeArtsCenter is located at 1560 Manhattan Beach Blvd. In Manhattan Beach. 310-802-5440
To view more of Brent Broza’s work, visit BrozaPhoto.com. DZ