We recently had the chance to sit down with talented artist, pro surfer and creator of our Bliss Out cover design Sophie Fletcher. Enjoy!
Hey Sophie! Nice to finally catch up. Can you tell us about yourself? Where are you from? Where are you now?
I’m 23 years old and I grew up on Phillip Island, Victoria. I feel so grateful and lucky to say I grew up surrounded by the sea and learned to surf when I was little with my Mum and dad.
We have such a lovely community and amazing waves on Phillip Island.
As for where I am now, I’m currently on a ferry going from the UK to France. I’m travelling and enjoy a working holiday over here in the UK/Europe (and South America) for a few months.
Sounds lovely. And what about your typical day-to-day when you’re back home? What does that look like?
This is actually a really hard question as I’ve been in a new town or even a new country almost every 3 days this year! As you can imagine, it’s been the most exciting and jam-packed 12 months ever. And I’m absolutely loving every second of it.
To give you an insight, there have been markets that I run most weekends with my brand Sophie Fletcher Designs. I also tour with my partner Felipe (who is a musician). And I help him on the road as well as work together with him to create tee designs for his projects too.
I had a photoshoot over in Indonesia and the UK with my sponsors. And I’ve been up and down the east coast of Australia for a few surf comps (Victorian Open women’s state champ this year… super proud) as well as a WSL qualifying series event.
Busy! Can you tell us about your recent collaboration with Beach Soul®? How did it come about?
Bec from Beach Soul® was super kind in sending me an email saying how much they like my style of art and that they wanted to see if I was interested in working together.
I was pretty excited as I've only done a handful of collaborations, so I was so keen to try another! I love working with smaller brands and reaching new audiences together. It was a really nice and easy process working with Bec from Beach Soul®. And they gave me complete creative control which is unreal!
I decided to stick to their exact branding colours (which are actually my fav colours), but go wild with a detailed overlapping mandala series, which now adorns their Bliss Out range of Beach Showers.
We love them and we had lots of fun working with you. We even sent you a Beach Shower with your design on the cover as another way to say thanks. Have you had a chance to try it yet?
Yes! It was so exciting to receive it in the mail. There’s something extra special about collab pieces and I love using the shower to rinse my feet off and wash away any salt before driving off.
Seriously, I feel like a salty human most days anyways so this is perfect haha! As a kid, I used to go to school with salty eyebrows and salty hair because I’d be so late coming in from a before-school surf in the mornings.
Imagine if I had a Beach Soul® Beach Shower then!
You’d be going to school 100% salt and sand-free, that’s for sure. As for your creative process, can you talk to us about that?
I really struggle to create when I “Have to” or when there are deadlines.
My favourite pieces come from nowhere really. Just having a clear and creative mind works for me. I even get creative between surf comps, but the Covid period was probably my most creative time.
So much time to chill with nowhere to be! Also, I'm always inspired by nature. And I love patterns and quirky blobs and squiggles.
When did you realise you could make money from your creative talents?
Probably halfway through Covid. It was so random actually.
We were at a fullstop in everyday life for most of that time, but where I lived had somewhat relaxed rules, which means that the markets were allowed to run every once and a while.
Needless to say, I did every one I could, which led me to the realisation that if I can make a little money from doing little markets and a few online sales, I can definitely make a career out of it when the world goes back to normal.
I've really enjoyed the pace at which Sophie Fletcher Designs has grown. And I’ve been able to teach myself every aspect of running a business and learn something new most days. This year in particular has been the first time I've had to say “No” to my other jobs.
Sophie Fletcher Designs is my every day now… HOW EXCITING! Im not sure I would’ve believed that to be possible at the start of 2020. It all started as a hobby and something fun, now it’s a full-on business and it’s still fun!
Well done you. Are there any other commissions or past projects that you’ve also loved working on?
This might sound strange, but in year 11 I didn’t like my Physical Education subject. So at the last minute in year 12 I changed to Visual Communication as a way to be spontaneous and try something totally different to what I thought I would’ve loved studying.
I then had to undertake a special project for the class, which I did with zero knowledge of Photoshop or Adobe. I designed a surfboard decal and a matching yoga mat design for my chosen brand “Roxy”. And the design I created got me top marks.
I actually loved it so much that it became the first design I released 3.5 years later for my business. It’s called “Abundance” and it’s so damn cool to have a dream of something, then years later see it not just in a school book but physically have it and sell it around the world to people I don't know… wild!
I also really enjoy designing some of my partner's t-shirt designs and seeing people at festivals wearing them! That always puts a little pep in my step haha. Oh… I also designed a decal for the Australian Junior surf team when they went to the World Surfing Championships.
So that’s a nice little segway into the world of surfing (which you’re well acquainted with). You’re actually a pro surfer in addition to an artist. Can you talk to us about that?
I learned to surf when I was about 5, but I did so many sports as a kid, from horse riding to tennis and netball.
Essentially, every school sport that was on offer, I tried (anything to get out of English, right?). We even had a surf academy at school. And I did my first comp at 12 and got 3rd in the state. I love how it all starts at the grassroots with local boardriders to state, nationals and even the WQS (World Qualifying Series), which is international.
I’ve met some of my best friends through travelling the world and surfing in comps together. And it’s such an epic worldwide community.
Let’s not forget either that you must have had access to some decent waves growing up on Phillip Island . Which ones are your favs? Do you think living there influenced your creative side too?
Cape Woolami! I absolutely love the rip bowls there… so challenging but so fun!
And yeah, I think surfing is creative. You have to be present and “Go with the flow”. I think this shows in my art, all of it is hand drawn and nothing about it is perfect!
Honestly, I feel like I have a style in surfing and a style in art that's distinctly “Sophie”. It’s my way of being creative and I love that! I want to be a stylish, powerful surfer and well as an artist.
What about surfers/artists. Any that you look up to?
Steph Gilmore… my all time fav as a surfer, a human, a creative. An absolute queen!
Steph does indeed rule. Now for a few personal questions. What’s the best live act you’ve ever seen?
Ooohhh Matt Corby in 2019, but I just saw Lime Cordial in Cornwall 2 days ago too. Both were at sunset with THE best crew and I had so much fun!
Solo surf trips or trips with mates?
With mates 100%.
I love sharing experiences and laughing and mucking around with friends. If I get smashed or kook it, i want my friends to see and laugh together.
Alternatively, if I get barreled or do something cool, I want to cheer with them. I did a rough camping surf/trip in the desert with a friend and it was so bloody funny!
The best memories.
Favourite female and male surfers on the world tour right now?
Carissa Moore is sick! And I rate ethan ewing too.
Most memorable heat you’ve ever surfed and why?
A WQS event in Western Australia. I had been working so hard and everything came together for me and I went on to win the event.
Another recent one was at the Rip Curl Pro trials at Bells Beach. I really enjoyed surfing on a bigger board and having a big wall to surf. I also competed with one of my best friends who I live with up the coast.
Even though it was a comp we both were hooting each other into waves and having a good time.
Favourite place or country to surf in and why?
J-Bay, South Africa. It’s sillllly how good it is! Such a long and beautiful wall of water to paint. A very stunning place too!
Favourite surf film section or clip?
Leave A Message. Such a hype up. Girls ripping!
Favourite pig-out meal after a surf?
Pasta all day, everyday.
And finally. What advice would you give to young artists out there trying to turn their passion into a business?
If you wake up and get excited about it, keep doing it. Keep being you and be proud of your style.
Starting a business is hard, I've learned that. But it’s also the most rewarding thing ever! I still can’t believe people purchase my creations and love them! So special. It inspires me to keep going with a smile!