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July 07, 2017 3 min read

Cover photos: @gap_photography / @joshmoods

For artist and surfer Jonas Claesson, the ocean serves as an inspiration for his artwork as well as a source of fun and adventure. His enthusiasm for exploring the outdoors with friends and family informs and inspires his work. Like the Bureo team, Jonas channels his passion for waves into his daily life and work. He recently designed a 'Making Waves' T-shirt for Bureo, and we are excited to continue collaborating with him to share our common love of the ocean and commitment to keeping it clean. 

Originally from just outside Stockholm, Sweden, Jonas grew up near the ocean. He continues to look to the ocean for inspiration for his artwork, explaining that he draws “things that I enjoy and inspire to do, things that get me excited, like travel, surfing, and doing fun stuff outdoors with friends and family.”

 Photo: @sproutdaily 

He started surfing in Sweden at a stretch of coastline known as Torö Stenstrand, or “rocky beach.” At Torö, he mostly surfed when it was “stormy and onshore, since a real groundswell is very uncommon.” Online swell reports weren’t readily available then, so he and his friends would watch the trees swaying in the wind, then get the “latest update on the wind strength and direction” clocked at a local lighthouse; if the speed and direction were such that the swell would be good, “we dropped everything, borrowed a car, and headed south.” 

Today Jonas lives in Freshwater, Australia and typically surfs about three times a week—“every day when it’s good!” After high school, he surfed in Portugal for a couple months before settling down to attend a year of art school in Stockholm, then moved to the Gold Coast of Australia to study product design at Griffith University. After working for four years at Billabong, designing headwear and backpacks and surfing during his lunch breaks, Jonas moved on to freelance work.

Follow Jonas on Instagram @Jonas_Draws 

Now he draws almost every day. It’s his job, but more importantly, it’s what he loves to do. He estimates that he finishes about two to five designs a week, each of which might take anywhere from a couple hours to a couple days. Drawing is something he’s enjoyed for as long as he can remember. He explains that “when I draw, I get into a very nice head space, and if I am lucky, I get in the flow and almost lose track of time.” He typically sketches his ideas out with a pencil, then uses ink pens for black and white artwork or adds color with markers, Photoshop/Illustrator adjustment, and watercolors. In addition to doing client work, Jonas maintains a web store that features his artwork.

Jonas says that he started drawing “because of the same reason most people do: it’s fun!” But “it has not always been surfing moose!” As a kid, he’d draw warriors, knights, and monsters. Around ten years ago, he sketched a skateboarding bear for a Swedish company called Nord, a design that inspired the focus of his current work: whimsical animal characters surfing and going on all kinds of other outdoor adventures.  


Jonas Claesson at work - Making Waves

Bureo is excited to release the ‘Making Waves’ print tee designed by Jonas. Featuring an artistic rendering of whimsical animals joining together to protect the sea from discarded fishing nets, the print captures the Bureo spirit and Jonas’ creative style. The release of the print also marks the launch of the ‘Bureo Art Collective’, an ongoing art series to profile creative ambassadors whose designs are inspired by the sea. Check out the Jonas’ ‘Making Waves” tee on the Bureo shop page, and learn more about Jonas and his designs at www.jonasclaesson.com

Written by Brooke Ortel