Recycling means something at UB. But the initiative to turn old stuff into something better, that pursuit to improve – isn’t just unique to our company. It’s a movement growing all around the world, and comes in many different forms.
Based out of Redondo Beach, Scott Snyder carries the recycling initiative as an artist. Oh, and he’s also a Malibu lifeguard. Almost every step of his artistic process is fueled by something another person might mistake for trash. We’ve got his story for you here…get in there!
What’s one lesson the water/ocean has taught you?
It's the importance of recognizing the gifts I've been given in this life. When I’m in the water, (the ocean or the pool) I live completely in the moment, and detach from all the stressors and mental hurdles of that day. The more often you remember to focus on that, the happier you'll be.
What's rocking it as an ocean lifeguard like?
Being an ocean lifeguard is truly exciting and gratifying. Many lifeguards would tell you that it's the best job in the world, and they're not lying. I get to hang out at one of the most beautiful places in the world, work with a group of talented, motivated individuals, meet some amazing people from all walks of life, save lives and be a hero to those in need. And we get paid well to do it.
Drink of choice?
Water. You can find me putting it down consistently throughout the day. Staying hydrated is key to keeping my body feeling good.
Signature order at In n' Out?
Double Double, Mustard Fries.
Favorite meal of the day?
Breakfast for sure.
Mind giving a little background on yourself?
I am a 25 year old kid who grew up in Simi Valley, a small town in Ventura County. I was raised with a deep love for the water, and spent summers surfing 1st point Malibu all day, every day. Winters were spent in the pool playing water polo. I went to UCLA on a water polo scholarship, and graduated in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in Physics.
How come you didn't stick with Physics?
When I was in in school, I figured out that a science path wasn't what I wanted to do with my life. And I knew the "entry-level corporate job" that all my peers were applying for didn't suit me either.
I've always been a person with a pretty unconventional approach to things in my life. But I've also always believed strongly in myself, and had faith in my purpose. I knew I wanted to control my own schedule, be my own boss, and put myself in a position to do something inspiring; for myself and for others. The only problem is, I didn't know what that was going to be..
What does that word unconventional mean to you?
I was really interested to see how Webster's defined it; "very different from the things that are used and accepted by most people." I think that's pretty fitting – because if conventional means something or someone that adheres to the unwritten rules and standards put forth by society and the media strictly because it's “normal” or “safe” - then conventional people probably don't recognize that the "supposed to" is completely relative and often fictitious.
Tons of people are that way, and that’s frustrating because I see people forfeit their passions for something they’re “supposed” to do.
When did you start making your art?
Back in college I used to take old furniture and plywood that people would throw out and paint murals on them to decorate the walls of my apartment. I used old cans of house paint from my parents garage and from the back of our Westwood apartment building. I hung the paintings using recycled wire clothes hangers from the dry cleaners.
Did you grow up with any interest in painting?
I never had any formal art training growing up, but I always considered myself fairly artistic. After a while, people would come over and show a ton of interest in these paintings and encouraged me to keep making them. I even traded a few for cases of beer, ha!
Is it still just a hobby?
Well, after graduating from UCLA, I was in a confusing place of what I wanted to do. Right about that time, my friends pushed me into starting an instagram account to promote my artwork. So I started @woodnote.ca and posted pictures of all my work.
Almost immediately, people contacted me wanting to buy pieces and commissioned new ones. In the last year and a half, this hobby has turned into a legitimate business! I completely support myself off this work, and live and work two blocks from the ocean in Redondo Beach.
How important is recycling to you?
It’s central to my process. Through it all, I have maintained my commitment to using only recycled materials in my original paintings. That means reclaiming wood dumped on the curb, and donated paint, and using old screws and recycling wire hangers to mount pieces.
Do you remember the subject of your first painting?
It was a large painting of two breaking waves at night with a full moon on the horizon. I still have that first one I made hanging over my bed. I'll keep that one forever. I still do a lot of surf/beach/lifeguard themed pieces, but also have a wide variety of themes. You can check out my blog, woodnoteartworks.tumblr.com, or my website, www.woodnoteartworks.com. My Instagram account also gives people an idea of the kind of work I do.
Who is your biggest inspiration
My dad was huge in my life. He was the water polo and swim coach at our high school. Plus, he was a lifeguard in Malibu 5 days a week during the summers. That gave me a great taste of surf culture and let me hone my skills on a longboard. I became an ocean lifeguard for LA County at 18 after graduating high school, following in not just my dad, but my whole family's footsteps. My grandfather, two uncles, and older brother are also lifeguards! .
Was First Point the place that got you got hooked on surfing?
Absolutely. It wasn’t just the exhilaration of riding waves, but also the lifestyle. The longboard culture was a huge influence on me as a kid. All the guys I grew up idolizing absolutely ripped on all different types of unconventional boards, and each individual was a unique embodiment of "style" in and out of the water.
Malibu is renowned not just for its perfect surf in the summer time, but the vast array of characters you're bound to run into as well; heroes, villains, clowns, hipsters.. You name it! It was an amazing place for a wide-eyed kid from Simi Valley to spend his childhood summers.
First Point’s eccentric scene rubbed off on Scott as a kid, and is still pretty evident in his painting style. The simplicity of these landscapes have the same feel as a slice of Malibu (just erase the summer crowds and tourists)
Any suggestions for some one wanting to just go for it and start making art of their own?
Allow yourself to be inspired. One of the most beautiful and fulfilling things in life is taking what started as a thought and actually creating something tangible from it. And we all have that power as humans. That might not necessarily be a work of art, and you might not always be satisfied with the final product, but I guarantee that you'll be proud of the fact that you created it. Don't be afraid to try.
Go check out Woodnote's (Scott) work and support a RAD artist. He's someone who's doing it right.