Billy Fairhall

Posted on September 25 2019



Ceri but you might know her better from her tag as TropicoolStudio. Ceri was a familiar face in the lineup in Sri Lanka and when approached some months ago about a collaboration on a new wombats range, she was stoked. I had chance to have a chin wag with Ceri to talk to her about her Art, Surfing and everything in between.


First Ceri give us an introduction, who are you ? where are you from ?whats been going on the past year?

Hey everyone! So yes, my name is Ceri! Odd spelling but pronounced Carrie! My life has been a real scramble and still to this day would be described as so. Grew up in Scotland (hence the odd spelling), moved to Canada with my family. But on a horse farm, far away from the ocean of any sort. 
When I turned 19 I moved to Australia, discovered my love for surfing and all the culture that comes with it. 
Since then I’ve been moving around from the North Shore of Hawaii, Nicaragua, Mexico, San Diego, Tofino B.C, Portugal, Sri Lanka, and now I’ve been living in France, and heading to Morocco in a jiff. 
I’m a passionate logger, love to draw anything to do with a single fin and now I can happily say I travel, surf and illustrate my way around the globe. 

How would you describe your style, is in confined to illustration or do you spread across different medias?

So I’d best describe my art as happy, lightweight, and fun. Typically working with simple line work I try to convey an image in a non descriptive way. My art quite consistently involves the ocean, tropics or a surfboard. I love 70s colour palette or at least pastels. And some may say I have a pretty feminist approach to my art but I just love drawing topless lady sliders because it heck we look good on a board and why keep the lady lumps  tucked in. 
As it stands, my main focus is illustration. I’ve painted a couple wall murals, I actually love photography and videography. So I’m excited to start mixing all these mediums together??
Do you have a particular process or is it when the inspiration hits you grab the pencils?
I come up with all my best ideas in the water. Cheesy enough. But also inconveniently enough I have no place to write the idea down so I just hope to take enough mental screenshots and come back to write them down when I’m out of the water. 
Otherwise I keep a notebook or a note in my phone with my ideas. But so often I start drawing something that inspires something else, that inspires something else and so on. Its an endless cycle. 
You had only one, would you go digital or the trust pencils?
Ok so this is hard. I want to be authentic and say pencils. Of course. However the nature of my lifestyle, digital pays the bills. And is much lighter in a backpack than a large sketch pad. That being said, I way prefer the texture and feel of drawing on paper. No doubt about it. So quite often I sketch first, then draw over it on my iPad then polish in Illustrator on my laptop.
whats your biggest inspiration, i know you travel heaps! does that impact your designs? do you find that your designs change with your surroundings at the time?
This 100% impacts my designs. When I’m in tropical places I find myself drawing a leafy palm every day. (I know it’s cliche but I adore them, have a large palm tree tattooed on my forearm). But when living home in Tofino, I find myself drawing pine trees, cougars and campervans. Also the local art inspires the heck out of me which is why I’m excited to head to Morocco where the patterns and textiles are so beautiful, light and intricate. 
and do you feel you grow and your art develops the more you are exposed to these different cultures and people?
100%. I’m currently in Rome, and all the patterns, architecture and passion/pride for art has triggered something within me. The mind blowing creativity here has brought out every emotion inside of me. And there’s not a splash of “surf art” here. So I’m excited to see where this trip takes my art. 
Each place I travel to has shaped and mounded me. I found myself drawing skulls and skeletons in Mexico, and Hamsa in Sri Lanka. It’s an expression of my environment so 100% it influences what hits the paper. 
How did this begin and where would you like to see your art go, grand plans?
It began with me sketching in a drawing book during my travels, and enough people telling me “hey you should put that on a T-shirt and I’d buy it”, to a surf company named “Auric” in Nicaragua reaching out to me asking for some designs to print on their T-shirt’s, and from there, the snowball effect and I realized I could actually travel, surf and pay the bills all at the same time. 
Honestly - I have no grand plan. I’d love to have some work in a magazine, or be involved with more surf festivals but I don’t want to get “too big” and lose authenticity. I’m incredibly happy with where I’m at now, traveling and working remotely while working with groovy companies like Wombats. 
Surfing and your art, do you consider these separate entities, or somehow do they intertwine? 
I mean it’s no coincidence ☺️ My life is as congruent as could be and I have no plans on changing that. The more I get into surf culture, the more I want to create art about it. The more I surf, the more I want to create art about it. The more I create art, the more I want to surf. They 100% intertwine which is why my bio states that I’m a lady slider and illustrator. The two are my main engines of happiness and quite conveniently, they work perfectly together. 


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