The Chilean-born Basque Country artist is keeping things both indie and real.

The Chilean-born Basque Country artist is keeping things both indie and real.

Daniela Garreton is busy making work for the 2013 Nord / Nordwest Festival Hamburg, Germany’s annual celebration of cold-water surfing and the culture that comes with it. She’s customising some handplanes – shaped by the “nice fellas at Hidden Wood” – with her beautiful, fishermen-friendly illustrations and they’re going to sit alongside boards shaped by the legendary Gato Heroi.

Although she was born in Chile, Daniela’s art is deeply rooted in the Basque Country she now calls home. “After a nice surf session at Zurriola [in San Sebastian], with my feet full of sand and my head full of salt, I sit down in my workshop and start sketching,” she says. “The Ocean is definitely my main force, it drives me. Whenever I submerge myself in the sea, I come out with this amazing energy that pushes me to create. It is the only place I feel free, I clear my mind. I’m one-hundred per cent in the present, it’s good therapy. But I’m also influenced by other creative people. I really like Wes Anderson films, especially The Life Aquatic and artists like Yoku Shimizu and Stevie Gee.”

Daniela is part of a new wave of European surfers that value their independence and creativity above the stickers on their boards. And being indie is more than a full-time job. After Hamburg, she’ll start preparing for a show at the Surfilmfestibal in San Sebastian this coming June, as well as the ‘Keep A Breast’ exhibition in Bordeaux and a bunch of other collaborative projects.

But no matter how busy she gets, Daniela understands the importance of keeping things real. And that means logging out of the blogosphere once in a while – a lesson many artists today could benefit from. “Sure, the internet really helps to broad your reach and have a more direct contact with people following your work,” she says. “But it’s important to have strong roots and to build personal bonds with people you meet so you don’t become a virtual-only person.”