Norval Watson

Norval Watson’s mission is to make art that invites further investigation:
“There has never been a better time to be an artist, with new challenges, new media, and an abundance of alternative channels for sharing new and old work.”
He began his art practice painting surfboards in the early 1970s, and has been exhibiting in pop-up galleries and independent spaces since 1988. His work is held in many private collections.
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Norval Watson, 1963   Norval Watson c. 1977   Norval Watson 2017
Above: Through the years - 1963, 1977*, 2017.


norv2001 at gmail dot com

Artist's statement:

Making stuff is what I do, and making art is what I do best.


Norval Watson was born in Australia in 1957. He sketched prolifically in his childhood but did not respond well to formal art education in school. He began building custom surfboards in his early teens. After leaving school Norval worked in print media, and made several short films. In 1990 he created a pop-up exhibition of paintings in a warehouse in South Melbourne, and has exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions since then. In 2006 Norval's spinal cord was crushed in a cycling accident and he became an incomplete quadruplegic for life. He has lived and worked in a small town on Australia's East coast since 1995, and he works at his art practice every day.


Solo exhibitions:

2017 Instagram 2010 Tigerfish Gallery, Torquay, Victoria 2007 Tigerfish Gallery, Torquay 1998 Something old, new, borrowed, blue… Ruskin St, Byron Bay, NSW 1997 Norval’s Junk World, Byron Bay 1997 Eclectic Selection, Byron Bay 1996 Orient Restaurant, Byron Bay 1995 Drawings, Saratoga Club, Melbourne, Victoria 1994 Works on paper, Cafe Primavera, Geelong, Victoria 1994 Lobby show, Napier Street Theatre, Melbourne 1994 Moved to abstraction, Saratoga Club, Melbourne 1991 Enter the Dreaming, Base, South Melbourne 1990 Base, South Melbourne 1988 Longforest Gallery, Central Victoria

Sound and music:

2009 Debut album “Unwell” released on Soundcloud and CD. 1980s Various soundtrack work on feature films and mini-series

Group Exhibitions

2015 Crescent Art Classic, Crescent Head, NSW 2012 Byron Art Classic, Byron Bay, NSW 2011 Food, still@thecenter, Byron Bay, NSW 2011 Byron Art Classic 2000 Soul Surfer 2, Tugun, Queensland 1999 Salon de Refuses (Archibald Prize), S.H.Ervin Gallery, Sydney 1999 Soul Surfer, Broadbeach Gallery, Qld. 1996 Kicking Arts, Byron Bay 1996 Groundswell, Epicentre, Byron Bay 1994 Across the Rip, Tidal Wave IV, Sorrento, Victoria 1994 Summer show, Torqing Arts, Torquay, Victoria 1993 Struggle and Protest, Torqing Arts, Torquay 1993 Target Art Award, Geelong, Victoria 1993 The Big Break, Torquay 1993 Tidal Wave 2, Queenscliff, Victoria 1992 Surfering Artists , Torquay 1992 Tidal Wave 1 Queenscliff


1998-2000 Peter Pan’s Travel Centre, Byron Bay, NSW 1996 Byron Bay Bunkhouse, Byron Bay 1990 Bortolotto’s Cafe Menis, St Kilda, Victoria 1988 Data Express, South Melbourne, Victoria 1988 Triffids Restaurant, Philip Island, Victoria 1988 El Tropo Restaurant, Lancelin, WA

Film and video:

2000-2015 – various short videos: Vimeo Channel … YouTube channel 1988 – Camera, “Savage Cuts II”, for Rip Curl 1987 – Co-producer, “Savage Cuts”, with Peter “PK” Kirkhouse, for Rip Curl 1980 “Zok”, 16 mins, 16mm

Published photography:

Australian Surfing World, Tracks Magazine, Surf Australia, Surfer USA, Surfing USA, Breakaway, Freesail

All material © Norval Watson 2018, except where noted.

*1977 photo of the artist by Antoni Magz Zapo.