Richard Kenvin celebrates the release of his new book, Surf Craft: Design and the Culture of Board Riding at City Lights Bookstore by reading the first two chapters and answering questions.
In his text, Richard Kenvin looks at the craft and design of surfboards from a historical and cultural perspective. He views board design as an exemplary model of mingei, or art of the people, and the craft philosophy of Soetsu Yanagi. Yanagi believed that a design’s true beauty and purpose are revealed when it is put to its intended use. In its purest form, the craft of board building, along with the act of surfing itself, exemplifies mingei. Surf Craft pays particular attention to Bob Simmons’s boards, which are striking examples of this kind of functional design, mirroring the work of postwar modern California designers.
Surf Craft is published in conjunction with an exhibition at San Diego’s Mingei International Museum.