Phil Roberts

“I can’t wait to have it—accidentally, of course—gleam a reflective glare into Rick Rietveld’s eye!” Phil Roberts is talking about the Hall of Fame ring he will soon be getting. And his jovial taunting of friend and fellow artist Rick Rietveld is just one example of Phil’s being careful to mention all the people who have helped him get to where he is today. It begins with Bob Carson, who found a young Phil airbrushing t-shirts and bikinis at the Indialantic Sidewalk Art show. Carson took Phil to the late Mike Tabeling’s factory, Creative Shaping, where Tabeling offered Phil a job as an artist. “I’m forever grateful to those two men for believing in me and giving me a shot,” says Phil. The following decades are a blur of success, as Phil’s surf art caught fire, fueled in large part by a 1982 cover for Surfer. Since, his work has appeared far and wide, from Hollywood movie posters to the pages of National Geographic. “Surfing has just exploded, as well as all of the careers along with it,” says Phil. “Today, I’m shipping artwork to countries that I might not have been able to in the 80s. Surf art may actually be legit after I’m done. It’s so exciting to be in the progression.”