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Biography

John Olvey is a life long lover of the ocean, the beach and all things saltwater.  From his  first exposure to surfing on rubber and canvas surf mats rented by his parents at the local beaches in Galveston, Texas to his 40 year competitive surfing career, John has developed his own unique style and approach to surfing and to the creation of art.  

John began doodling on his book covers in elementary school. He assisted his brother in building a surfboard in 1963 when it was too cold for the materials to harden. His mom regrets having allowed the job to be finished inside the home. Surfing was gaining popularity nationwide. When ABC began airing the movie " Endless Summer" in 1966 and it became a family event watching it.  The "Father of Surfing" Duke Kahanamoku visited Houston in April 1966 and soon afterwards legendary big Wave surfer Greg Noll came to a local surf shop. The die was cast and John's lifestyle was forever changed. 

John constantly explored his talents in art in school. He enrolled in the fine arts program at the University of Houston studying painting, drawing and sculpture. His first large sculpture commission was a creation for a local church and was a massive foam and fiberglass Ukranian Easter Egg for the courtyard.  John left fine arts and received a degree in management where he began a career in hospitality.  John worked for companies that allowed him to design and build restaurant, hotel and hospital kitchens. John was able to draw and layout complete sets of his designs for use in construction. He often scheduled his work around the surfing contests he continued to participate in.

In 1999 the "Surfin' Art" exhibit at the Museum of South Texas opened and John renewed his passion for surf art.  John had just won his third US Amateur Surfing title and retired from competitive surfing. Over the next 13 years John would develope his style and renew his passion for fine art.

Today John is one of the few artists in the world creating sculptures from Surfboards. 



John's Surfing History:

  • 1963 Began surfing in Galveston Texas
  • 1965 Began surfing competitively
  • 1966 First medal in surfing, Tandem division, ( I was the small partner)
  • 1968 First State Individual medal 3rd place, Boys 14 and under
  • 1976 First State Championship Title, Longboard
  • 1976-1991  accumulated 27 State Surfing Titles in various divisions
  • 1991 Fifth Place US Amateur Championships Senior Mens   Port Aransas Texas
  • 1991 Fifth Place US Amateur Championships  Longboard  Port Aransas Texas
  • 1991  Second Place US National Team Trials  Longboard  Port Aransas Texas  
  • 1995 First Place US Amateur Championships  Senior Longboard
  • 1995 First Place US Amateur Championships   Kneeboard all ages
  • 1996 Fifth place US Amateur Cahmpionships  Honolulu Hawaii,
  • 1997 Fifth Place US Amateur Championships, Oceanside California
  • 1998 First Place US Amateur Championships   Senior Longboard   Oceanside California ( first retirement)
  • 2001 Last Competitive State Title, 1 St place Open Longboard ( second Retirement)
  • 2006 Last Contest entered  Legends Divison   1 st place    (retired immediately again)



Texas Gulf Surfing Association: Past Treasurer, Surfer/ Athlete Representative, Competition Director
United States Surfing Federation: Board member from 1995-1998 ,  Officer Past Treasurer

Artistic Accomplishments
I still have this little medal from high school where I won an award for the best painting. I still have the painting too, it of a waterfall in india ink and acrylic paint.  It still hangs i my home. 
Merit Artist awards:  
     2010 Rockport Center for the Arts   Juried Competition  Painted Surfboard
     2010 Corpus Christi Art Center Dimensions  Juried Competition  Painted Surfboard
Honorable Mention:
     2009 Celebrate Texas Art       Statewide Juried Competition   Painted Surfboard
Honored to just get in the show....
     2010  "Shorelines" International Juried Competition  Rockport center for the Arts   Sculpted Surfboard