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Robb Havassy (born December 2, 1969 in Southern California in the United States), for the first 17 years of his life he lived 45 minutes inland in Arcadia, California. He then moved to Newport Beach, California, to be closer to the ocean.
He started surfing when he was about 17 years old, although his first time on a surfboard was when he was eight in Waikiki, Hawaii, on a longboard.
Robb Havassy is known for his depictions of women, landscapes, flowers, children and animals as well as his sports portraits of Ben Hogan, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.
Before becoming an artist, Robb was an international fashion model for the likes of Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Christian Dior and Armani, he modeled from 1982–2002, he did not began his formal painting career until 1996 after receiving a beginner’s art kit as a 26th birthday present. Up until that point Havassy’s only artistic expression was in his photographs of his travels around the world and his surfboards. He was discovered by a talent scout in Newport Beach when he was 17. A few years later he contacted the talent scout, took some photos and hired an agent.
In 1996, on Robb's 26th birthday, he was given a beginners art kit by two friends. His first traditional painting was a small surfing portrait of Duke Kahanamoku for photographer and friend Bruce Weber, before that he painted his first surfboard in 1989.
In 2005, Hollister Co created 360 unauthorized knockoffs of signed Robb Havassy surfboards for use as decoration in their stores. After litigation, Havassy collected an undisclosed amount as damages from Hollister. In his book, Havassy writes of the incident "It's about how cool it is to be a surfer – and how a billion dollar company put their hands on it. They got called on it."
Robb's work was featured as the official cover art for the 2005 AT&T Pebble Pro Am of golf, one of PGA golf's most popular events. Cathy Scherzer Pebble Beach Co.'s director of marketing said that “"Robb Havassy's cover art for the 2005 tournament was one of the most popular in the events history.” Robb worked for Reef, Op, Hurley, Surfrider Foundation, Globe, Sector 9, NVOHK, Howe Jeans, Robert August, SIMA and Sirftech.
Robb has launched the Havassy eco-friendly sandal line, and an "artist series" of skateboards with Sector 9. He is working on the "Havassy Art model" surfboard with Robert August surfboards, the surfboards basic model is a 5 ft. 8 in., by 20 in. wide hybrid, "rocket fish" inspired. The "Havassy" model was available as a Surftech model in spring 2009.
Havassy has also been involved with the Surfrider Foundation, SIMA (Surf Industry Manufacturers Association), and Heal the Bay, helping to raise eco-awareness and close to $50,000 with his art donations, with Havassy's total donations being closer to $100,000.
Havassy, along with Rrrf, has created a special edition surf art poster for Tsunami Relief, with 100% of the proceeds going to Surf Aid International. To date it has raised over $15,000 for the ongoing Indonesian relief effort.
- Havassy, Robb. "Wikipedia Project questions with Robb Havassy." E-mail interview. 11 Sept. 2009.
- Havassy Art. Web. 14 Sept. 2009. http://www.robbhavassy.com/artist_bio/index.html
- "Interview / Conversation Between Cody Graham and Robb Havassy" Havassy Art. Web. 14 Sept. 2009. http://havassyart.com/news_events/nterview.html
- "Take that, posers!". Orange County Register. June 7, 2010.
- "Robb Havassy."<http://www.clubofthewaves.com/art_artists.php
- Surf Artist Files Copyright Suit Against Abercrombie and Fitch (Surfermag)
- Behind the Scenes/ Orange County; Striking a New Pose (Los Angeles Times)
- Fine artist; what do you get when you cross a super-fine model with a can of paint? You get yourself one... (Daily News Record)
- Check out the best-ever surfing book (The Orange County Register)
- Calif. Artist Presses Lawsuit Against Abercrombie & Fitch (Artinfo)
- Surf artist defends a culture (Orange County Register)