Marked with Pattern and Texture, Hula’s Murals Appear to Emerge from the Sea

GRACE EBERT

All images © Sean Yoro, shared with permission

To paint his murals, Sean Yoro, aka Hula, yields to the shifting tides of the ocean. The Los Angeles-based artist (previously) paddles out to underpasses and concrete barriers only accessible by water where he balances on a surfboard with a minimal number of supplies—all paints, brushes, and other materials have to fit within the 10-foot space. There he renders portraits of women half-submerged in the sea and singular hands that appear to burst from the surface. “I had to learn not only a faster and more efficient way to paint while on a surfboard but also blending layers together needed to be able to adapt to the tides and other variables that might restrict certain areas of the wall,” he shares.

The visibility of Yoro’s large-scale works shifts depending on the water level, allowing the celestial patterns that mark his subjects’ faces or splotches of paint on their backs to peek through. “I loved incorporating more surreal elements to my painted figures—always trying to balance the water and concrete aesthetics,” he says.

In addition to his seaside murals, Yoro also paints smaller works on canvas and occasionally sells limited-edition prints in his shop. You can follow his latest projects on Instagram.

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