Surf Shacks – Mark Wiesmayr & Eileen Peters
/ Matt 06.12.2013
Mark and Eileen Wiesmayr are two very lovely, awesome humans who both share a passion for design, art, surf and beach culture — not to mention their dog, Hank Moody. They are our first subjects for the Surf Shacks series because of their unique taste and aesthetic, not to mention Marks insane quiver and board collection.
How did you two meet?
It was 8 years ago, as I was in NY for a Ksubi store opening (who I was working for at the time). I broke my nose that morning while surfing Rockaway, so looked a mess, and we had an after party that was rocking. A friend walked in with this blonde, whom I couldn’t take my eyes off. I walked up to her and told her I was going to hang out with her all night, which I did, something good happened despite my nose, we laughed so much. We’ve been together ever since.
What do you both do for a living?
Eileen is a model, but on hiatus at the moment as we’re expecting for our first child, a boy, who’s due June 12th. That is REALLY soon. I’m a Design Director, working with AG Adriano Goldscmied (a premium fashion brand).
What brought you to Venice Beach?
Eileen was living in NYC, I was living in Bondi Beach, Sydney. I was going to move to Venice (had great friends here, liked the culture), and she said if I did, she’d move from NY… We moved into a house we’d only seen online. We stayed in that house for 7 years, good times.
What do you like most about your location?
The light, and the proximity to the beach. I surf with my buddies almost straight out the front of our street, which is rad. Early mornings I surf by myself before work, after running the beach with Hank Moody. The closeness to Abbot Kinney, and a good distance from the riff raff of the boardwalk circus. It’s great to be able to go to The General Store on Lincoln, to Axe restaurant and GTA (Gjelina Take Away) on Abbot Kinney.
How long have you lived in this space?
We’ve been here for a year now, we moved here as its still in our ‘hood, where all of our friends are, and its closer to the beach than we were before. Now I just walk there, and we take Hank Moody for runs on the beach every day. Eileen found the apartment after a LOT of searching, it had good light, great location on a great street and we thought we could make it home with a little creativity.
What is your favorite part of the house?
Eileen: I love the lounge room. It is light, and spacious, and really comfortable. Our elements in it make me feel like the space is warm and interesting, and I enjoy the ease of getting to the kitchen or seeing the weather through the 14 windows in the space.
Mark: I love the rooftop garden. I love being outside, tunes on, and watching the sky, reading everything I have to catch up on (or checking Instagram), and enjoying the plants all around. I also dig our library, it always makes me want to pick up a book and look through it. I am always stoked on Hank’s kennel in the library too, just to appreciate he has his own considered architecture within the house. Our buddy Danny Simon built the library for us, its rad, timeless, and modular.
You have a ton of artwork here, which are your favorite pieces and why?
Eileen: Our giant photo wall, in the guest room soon to be Thumper’s room, Its a beautiful picture of coastline and birds by Lauren Ross, a great friend of ours, who is an exceptional photographer. I also love our giant dream catcher, that Mark found at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. He and his friend John Moore drove it back on the roof of John’s car, while Mark had to hold it through the sunroof, nearly ripping his arm off. It needed a little repair when it got home. We’ve never seen one like it, it has beautiful tapestry and is a really unique piece.
Mark: The photo over the mantelpiece was shot by my mate Eugene Tan, of Aquabumps.com (when I used to live in Bondi Beach). Its a great surf pic that is not of performance, or the obvious, yet it draws you in with emotion, as you see the raindrops on the surface first, and then spy the surfer in the barrel past the shallow focus. Kevin Butler (@kbut on Instagram) does fun illustrations of #radcarswithradsurfboardsonthem). He did an exhibition at The Pop Gallery last year, and we have some great pieces by him. I always take pics of rad eclectic cars, so I love his work.
We have a great piece by Fern Levack and Damion Fuller, an illustration of the Sydney coastline, drawn into a girls face, with all of the beaches and details called out. My friend Jean Kress mounts photos he and I have taken onto driftwood pieces he finds on the beaches of France, and he brings us them every time he visits. Antlers that have been painted by Hailey Robinson, a painting by Paul McNeill, photos by Jamie Brisick and Herbie Fletcher… We love collecting art by friends, it means a lot more to the pieces we have.
There are a lot of beach stuff throughout the house. Any other stories about objects around your home?
Too many, this house is full of objects with stories. Yes I have a collection of small deer antlers that my great grandfather found in the forest beside his pub in Austria. I have some beautiful shaping room resin from the floor, that a friends board was shaped on before the floor was pulled up. There’s some branches from a tree I felled in our old house, that I had saved, and then made into a piece for a VSTR concept presentation, painted to evoke a feeling of trail markers. A lamp I found at a flea market, Eileen told me she hated it so I painted it and now we both love it. I made a bookshelf at Eileen’s dad’s farm in Portland, from reclaimed wood and metal that he had on the property. We had to drive it back in the car, and Hank had to squeeze into it, that is not a short drive, but now it sits and is a piece of pride of the things you make yourself, that actually function and look good.
I collect anything that appeals aesthetically, I guess I’m like a curatorial crow, always drawn to eclectic shapes, colors. Hank Moody and I run the beach every morning, and collect anything that seems interesting, especially feathers. I’ve always taken rocks or driftwood from beaches I’ve visited, and put them in our garden or in collections. I think about how they work with each other, and dig the natural, organic designs they can create. Eileen and I made a mobile yesterday, of driftwood, shells, beads, and painted feathers, for our soon to be son (holding name is Thumper, there is no agreement on the actual name yet).
Mark, how many surfboards do you have?
I don’t know.
Which boards are your favorites?
My buddy Phil Ward has just started shaping boards, after having collected boards for the past decades, and his collection is phenomenal. I asked him to shape me a short 5’2″ flat rockered single with 2 side bites, wanting to support my mates new hobby. He arrived from Oz for a visit, then was hanging with Rich Pavel, who has been his mentor. They were in the shaping bay, calling me, and explaining they were channeling Terry Martin, and were making me a twinzer. Inwardly, I was annoyed, not at all what I wanted. I received a freaky, over rockered, heavy double concave 5’4″, with a little too much hull at the front. The resin work was beautiful though, so I surfed it a lot, until its now a fave. I think that you can make any board surf pretty well with focus and application.
I have a beautiful 9’4″ Surf Thump longboard by Almond. I was helping Dave and Chad at Almond a little, and this was part of the payment. That board has finally got me on the nose and walking well, I dig that longboard feeling. I grew up shortboarding, so longboarding has been a skill I’ve only recently really started to acquire. They gave me the art and laps I requested too, so it feels super unique.
I have a 5’4″ Arctail Twin by Mandala. Manny and I had a lot of differences about what art could be applied to it, and yet ended up with a great little board to slip and slide on, and I dig the final art. I’m not into white boards, I always like color and artwork, and always design my own art to any custom boards.
I have a few vintage boards I really love too. Mainly under 6’0″. Mainly twinnies and singles, I grew up surfing too many performance boards and thrusters, so have a little aversion to them now. I enjoy the challenge of changing boards frequently and figuring out what I can and can’t do on them, and then pushing it a little more.
Where is you favorite place to surf here?
I love Rincon, the Channel Islands, and a few spots just South of County Line. Big Porto can be a blast when it holds. I just surfed a little secret spot past Rincon last weekend, so sick, a right point break, only myself and 2 of my buddies on it, whilst the point in the distance had maybe 40 peeps on it. It was breaking head high with some great sections, a blast.
Honestly, the average beach break out the front of my street (the south corner, or the corner as we call it), is a favourite place to me too. I get it most days, mainly a little bank to myself or with buddies, and its a really positive vibe with us all. I’m stoked to have a place that isn’t overrun, that feels like fun, and I can walk to. Its certainly not the best break, nor the most challenging, but I consider the fun factor huge to enjoying a surf, and I always have fun out there. I’m a constant frother about waves…
/ Interview + Photography by Matt Titone