Ladies of the Lake

Beautiful Waterside Murals Painted from a Surfboard

Hawaiian artist Sean Yoro aka Hula has created a series of hauntingly beautiful waterside murals. “I grew up surrounded by street art, but ventured into the fine art world with my portraits,” he told us.

“It wasn’t until this past year when I was shooting underwater portraits for my paintings did the idea spark for these waterside murals. I loved being in the water and still working creatively. It felt very natural for me.”

Being from a surfboarding background, Sean paints his murals from his board, allowing him to get to unusual and striking locations. His oil-based waterside murals are breathtakingly realistic, reflecting brilliantly upon the surface, adding another dimension.

We spoke to Sean to find out more:

The Plus: What’s the main difference between painting on a canvas inside and painting outside?
Sean Yoro: There are so many differences, but I would say the main one would be dealing with nature and all its variables. In the studio, it is very consistent and I know the variables beforehand.

Switching to outside and along the water, there is never one set process I can rely on to paint these murals. Each location came with its own set of problems and I had to be prepared to adapt and find solutions on-site. It was definitely one of the most difficult concepts I have worked on, but at the same time it has been my most passionate as well.

TP: What painting are you most proud of?
SY: I would have to say Pu’uwai (the one where the figure is floating sideways with closed eyes), which means ‘heart’ in Hawaiian. This piece was inspired by a feeling I could never explain well with words, so when it came to life in the painting, it was very satisfying for me.

Pu’uwai represents the feeling of comfort I get from the water, wherever I may be in the world – the silence as you hold your ear right below the surface and you can only hear your heartbeat. In that moment I feel safer and calmer than any other place.

TP: You paint while sitting on your surfboard, with the paint on the surfboard as well. Did this ever go wrong?
SY: Fortunately not, although I have had a bunch of brushes and caps roll off, it has never been a full man overboard scenario, touch wood.

TP: What place is your favourite to paint?
SY: It would definitely be the location where I painted Kahu. It was a very mysterious place with these huge concrete pillars and old fixtures still attached. There was this beautiful light creeping through and it framed this wall perfectly at the right time for the picture. It was magical seeing the light bring the figure to life. I will never forget that moment.

TP: Where would you most like to paint in the future?
SY: There are so many different places I hope to paint in my career. I don’t want to limit myself or reveal too much either. Basically, I see myself traveling around a lot this next year and hope to really connect with people all around the world.