Kit Plumridge depicts the
lifeguard towers of Malibu.
B Y A R I E L L E G A M B L E
Malibu Times Magazine Summer 2018
With no formal training, he started exploring the depths of his artistic
abilities 13 years ago. Today, artist Kit Plumridge paints colorful depictions of lifeguard towers for which he has become known.
They are a reflection of the culture and lifestyle tha he loves so much about Malibu.
“I get this urge to do it and I swear to God, nothing can stop me, I just go for it. I get an idea and I run with it,” Plumridge said, describing his creativity as more of a compulsion than a choice—an “innate, animal” response, even.
When the artist and his wife came to the area more than 25 years ago with their two young children, they practically had nothing. Yet, Plumridge’s memories of settling into this city are peppered with joyous moments.
“I’m a really lucky person. I have a sense of joy most of the time,” Plumridge said.
The artist—who works with oils and acrylics to capture the themes of Malibu—paints his “bright-colored, surf-orientated art” on canvas and wood pane. He partly attributes his creativity to his DNA.
“My aunt and uncle owned a business called The Art Studio,” he said. “It was a photograph developing business.”
His uncle Endel was a beach photographer. His aunt—“a fabulous painter”—would hand-color enlarged photos upon request. (These were the days before color film.)
“I learned a lot about photography and processing of film, and when I was nine years old, I set up my own dark room,” he recalled. “I think this had a profound effect on the way I see things and gave me insight into how important composition is in any art form.”
It was on the eastern shores of South Africa where he fell in love with the sea. Time spent at a small beach town about 40 miles south of his birth city, Durban, South Africa, shaped the way he sees the world. An active sailor, surfer and all-around entrepreneur, Plumridge credited his South African roots for his unique style.
“I’m heavily influenced by nature,” he commented. “My wife has the same thing. I mean we walk around and wherever we go we’re marveling at things. ‘Ah, look at that butterfly! Look at that flower!’”
With this wonder, Plumridge continually pushes himself to experience new things, striving to grow and improve.
His latest projects include redesigning the Country Kitchen restaurant and will have his 3D art incorporated into the design.
Also, recently, he has taken on the challenge of joining The Allied Artists of the Santa Monica Mountains and Beaches.
“They’re about 10 or 15 of the most fabulous en plein air painters,” the artist said. “We meet once a month on a Saturday morning, and we go to some beach in Malibu or a mountain and we go and paint, and afterward we critique each other’s work. It’s turned me into a better studio painter.”