Pepa Ivanoff: Painting the World One Wall at a Time

August 3, 2020


We got to meet up at Coffee Coffee with muralist Pepä Ivanoff, who just recently covered the back alley wall of Surfhouse with bright sherbert vibes and fun typography to "Keep it Surfy". Can't get much more Leucadian than that! She is a well-traveled artist that strives to create something different that the usual beach wave or female silhouette, while staying true to her personality and that of the city that she's in. There is even an environmental aspect to her process; the paint that she uses from Encore Art Paint is recycled - leftover paints are combined into a new color, reducing waste. Here's our Q & A with her on where she comes from, her inspiration and what she wants to do next!


L101: Where are you from?
P: I was born and raised in Australia but moved here to Leucadia when I was 23. I spent 7 years here in California, before moving to Costa Rica, where I've been based for the past 9years.

L101: Did you study art at any particular institution, or self-taught?
P: I’m formally trained as aGraphic Designer, which I studied at the Queensland Institute of Graphic Art inAustralia. I've been working in this field for 20 years, and I think my art reflects my design background, and vice-versa. I love typography and textile/print design.

L101: What are some of your hobbies?
P: Surfing, traveling, horseback-riding, reading, photography and hanging out with my Peruvian Hairless dog, ChiChi.

L101: What is the main subject or theme of your art pieces?  Where do you get your inspiration from?

P: My artwork is both inspired by, and a result of, my nomadic surfer lifestyle. I’m inspired by my travels, tropical vibes (especially plants!), colors, textiles, patterns and geometric shapes.

L101: Why did you want to paint a mural in Leucadia?
P: Leucadia has been a part of my life for 16 years, so I wanted to create something bright and fun to share in this unique neighborhood. I moved to Leucadia from the Gold Coast inAustralia in 2004. I lived here until 2011, then relocated to Costa Rica. I consider this town to be one of my homes, filled with great memories and an amazing network of friends who are my family. Thank you Leucadia! Keep it Funky and Surfy!

L101: This was your first mural right?
P: No, this was my 248th mural, but my first in the USA! My murals are in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador,Peru and now here!

L101: Did you encounter any obstacles?  If so, how did you overcome it if possible?
P: Nothing too major, but the wall had 3 different textures (wood at the top, a metal strip through the center and cement block on the bottom) so that made painting a little more complex and required a bit of extra time. The different surfaces absorb paint differently (I apply 2 coats of paint to maintain the integrity of the color) and require different brush strokes and brush sizes. I also changed the orange color during the process. The orange originally had too much red in it, so I mixed a lighter, brighter tone and was happy with the outcome!

L101: Do you feel like your art or creative process has been affected by the pandemic?
P: 2020 has been a wild ride, and this pandemic has turned my world and all my plans upside down! I was working inGuatemala in March, then got locked-down in quarantine in El Salvador 96days. In May, El Salvador was devastated by a terrible TropicalStorm, and the hotel I was staying in/painting was flooded. We had to evacuate, and the only option we had to leave the country (due to the pandemic) was a repatriation flight back here to the USA. So nowI'm here in Leucadia! I feel very fortunate that I can paint no matter where I am, so I'm adapting to whatever life throws my way and staying creative and positive in the process!

L101: What would you like to do next?
P: I want to continue painting bright and happy art on empty walls in the neighbourhood! Please let me know if you have one!


Photos by: @johnmanzoni and @threemoonsaway

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