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by Tru Starling

When we think of raw beauty, amazing food, beautiful people and great waves we can’t go too far past Australia’s Phillip Island. After a few years of travelling, firstly for free surfing and then on the Qualifying Series we started to notice a common theme in regards to how an area and its traits can rub off on the local people.

Phillip Island local Sophie Fletcher represents all of the beauty of her home. Honest, caring, creative… oh yeah and she rips. This was evident when she won the 2018 Mandurah Pro QS1000 in Western Australia.

Sophie has recently started a new project to go side-by-side with her surfing and we had a chat with her to find out more:

What’s your name, age, where are you from and when did you start surfing?

Sophie Fletcher, 20, grown up on Phillip Island Victoria.
Started surfing at 5.  I Learnt from dad and remember so clearly the massive yellow soft top board I had.

You are a competitive surfer but you have recently just started your own business SOPHIE FLETCHER DESIGNS. When did you first get into art?

My mum is an artist and I have grown up with a studio in every house we have lived in, lots of clay and ceramics. But to be honest I never really enjoyed it, I was always so consumed by sports. It wasn’t until year 11 when I swapped my PE class for Visual Communications. That is where it all began. It was a subject mixed with graphic design, interior design, architecture and other creative projects. I Loved it.

AMAZING STICKER ART TO BRING LIFE TO ANY BOARD. Source sophiefletcherdesigns.com

Where do you get the inspiration from when sketching your work?

I get inspiration from everywhere. I have my favourite artists that I follow and admire, but mainly inspiration comes from whats around me. The other day I was lying in bed and looking at how dusty my light shade was, took it down and was so excited because it has this beautiful floral pattern made out of wire and metal. Never even noticed it (probably because it been up there since 08). But things like that, I notice things around and draw ideas from that. 

Do you draw inspiration from your surfing for your art or do you see them as separate entities? (If you do draw inspiration from surfing, how?)

Yes and no. For me both surfing and art is a passion, hobby, job and escape. Which is pretty cool and I feel so fortunate that I can call both these things that I love, a job! This whole business idea (Sophie Fletcher Designs) actually came from designing all my boards with art. So I guess yes, I do draw inspiration from surfing. I mean waves and the flow of them are so fun to draw. And when doing either, is when I come up with some funky ideas. I also want my boards to look groovy and different under my arm and on the wave, so been a competitive surfer gives me inspo and drive to do cool things on my equipment haha! 

When you travel on the QS there’s a lot of downtime. Do you do these sketches to kill that downtime or do you do it purely when you’re at home?

Plenty of downtime! and in all the down time, both in-between events and at home, is where I came up with a business plan. Lots of drawing and designs, taught myself to build a website from scratch, working with printers and clients, social media platforms, places to get packaging and labels etc. There’s so much that went into launching my business and taught my self most of it along the journey and listened to all advice given to me along the way. 

NOT JUST HANDY WITH A PAINT BRUSH.. Source https://www.instagram.com/sophiefletcher_/

How long does it take to do one of the larger pieces and how did you learn how to do it?

I recently did my biggest piece yet, an all hand drawn mandala roughly 1.5m by 1.5m. That took me about a week. Doodling for about 2-3 hours a day on the canvas. Self taught, I’ve always loved drawing mandalas, start in the middle and don’t know where you’ll end up, just keep going just adding patterns. So meditative to do!

What was your thought process when starting the business?

I’ve always wanted to be my own boss and run a business, even when I was younger I’d sell an all natural zinc, as a 15 year old I would go into stores, give them my pitch and wholesale price them etc. and also sell them myself at markets etc. All my second hand boards also sell so quick, always because people loved the art and not necessarily the board shape and size,which I thought was crazy! Performance boards, pretty new, wow, nope they liked the art hahah. 
This time I wanted something that was mine. I wanted to make something different. Offer people unique art for their surfboards. Then it lead to “what about decal sticker art to sticker on anything! “. ball kind of kept rolling. 

What is the goal/your vision for SOPHIE FLETCHER DESIGNS?

Continue to run a homegrown all Australian made and designed business. 

Bring unique art to everyone’s life because it can be stuck anywhere. 

I have a vision to have my design on cafe tables tops, yoga studio walls, surfers boards, in streets of Melbourne etc. add colours and creativity to people’s life! 

My core values are to inspire, to never stop growing and learning, be resilient and courageous, and to seek a life full of new and stimulating experiences. 

Basically, I just want to be a kind human and have a positive influence, somebody everyone can look up to and feel comfortable around. Been enthusiastic and genuinely smile. Share my influences. Acknowledge contributions of others.

Keep being true to myself, run a beautiful/ badass business! 

SOPHIE FLETCHER DESIGNS. Source sophiefletcherdesigns.com

How can people see your artwork and where can they go to buy it?

All my art is posted on @sophiefletcherdesigns Instagram and you can shop my decal sticker designs on the website www.sophiefletcherdesigns.com 

What advice would you give to someone who loves to draw or wants to learn how to do it?

Be open and trust yourself, I struggled for so long because I always compared my art to others. 

Art is art. There is no right and wrong.

Don’t be afraid to say yes, doors open and doors close. And if one closes another will open! If you have dream to start a business! Do it, I had no idea what I was doing at the start, but I’m learning and it’s been the best thing I’ve done! 

And if you have any questions about anything….surfing, travel, business, don’t be shy to reach out! I love a chat and meeting new people! People inspire me! 

Thanks for your time Soph, your’e not only a great human but a constant inspiration to those around you. See you in the water soon!

Check out Sophie’s amazing designs via the following Social Media Links Below:

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