KEEP ON WALK­ING

De­signer and artist Anais Pier­quet ex­plains how life, surf­ing, art and tat­toos be­came an in­tri­cate part of her life.

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So, here I am. My life has been a melt­ing pot of en­er­gies and co­in­ci­dences, and it is the peo­ple I have met, and the de­ci­sions I have made along on the way, that have brought me to where I am to­day. I de­cided to fol­low my heart in­stead of my mind, live the life­style I de­sired and cre­ate a re­la­tion­ship with surf­ing. I be­lieve that when you de­cide to re­alise your dreams and fol­low your soul, if you ac­tu­ally be­lieve in who you are, life will al­ways be on your side. So I de­cided to trust life, and go along with it.

“I de­cided to fol­low my heart in­stead of my mind, live the life­style I de­sired and cre­ate a re­la­tion­ship with surf­ing.”

I grew up in France, on the bor­der of Switzer­land, in a lit­tle county called Pays de Gex. It’s a beau­ti­ful place in the mid­dle of the moun­tains. It was just a bit too cold and not sandy enough for me. When I was a kid I was al­ways drawn to the sea. Beach days, wind­surf­ing and snow­board­ing were pretty much the best mem­o­ries of my child­hood. I dreamt about Hawaii and the surf­ing vibe, never be­liev­ing I would ac­tu­ally be part of this world. How­ever, once you start to put all your en­ergy into the ocean and surf­ing, you will never stop. It be­comes part of you.

Af­ter my dad passed away I needed to set my soul free, so I de­cided to go to Cal­i­for­nia to im­prove my English skills. It was the big­gest step I’d ever taken in my life. I’d never even left my par­ents’ home be­fore. The trip was a beau­ti­ful and dif­fi­cult ex­pe­ri­ence that made me grow so much in my life.

Then, about two years ago, I moved to Bali and started to short­board with my good friend and surf coach Adi. I hurt my shoulder do­ing a skate­board­ing video and couldn’t surf for about three months, but I couldn’t stay away from the ocean and got back in the wa­ter be­fore it was fully healed. I grabbed a long­board be­cause it’s eas­ier to pad­dle with it, and the more long­board­ing I did, the more I got ad­dicted to it. It be­came a daily rit­ual. It was so much fun and also so chal­leng­ing to learn more and more, to im­prove ev­ery day.

Surf­ing be­came so im­por­tant in my life that I wanted to push it to an­other level. It’s an art form and a way of ex­press­ing my­self. When I surf it set­tles my mind and soul. I wouldn’t be able to live with­out it. It’s my own kind of medicine or med­i­ta­tion.

Art is also my med­i­ta­tion, just like surf­ing. It al­lows me to make time and space for my­self, where my mind stops get­ting lost in breath­less thoughts. I feel free when I am cre­at­ing. Any tat­too I de­signed was a way to ex­press my­self. It was a way to let out some feel­ings and emo­tions that are maybe too dif­fi­cult to talk about. Ev­ery time I had a strong emo­tional mo­ment in my life, I had a new tat­too to cel­e­brate it. For ex­am­ple, on my left front arm, I have a por­trait of my mother, based on a pic­ture taken the day she got mar­ried to my fa­ther. This day and de­ci­sion shaped my par­ent’s life, and there­fore it shaped mine too. I come from a pretty stormy past, and it made sense to me to ink under my skin the roots of it. My mother is such a strong soul, and it was also a way to tell her how much I ad­mire who she is.

I never thought about get­ting tat­toos be­fore I ac­tu­ally did it. I did my first tat­too back in 2009 when I was liv­ing in Cal­i­for­nia for a bit. This pe­riod of time was a tough one for me. My dad had just passed away and it was very hard to travel alone and be so far away from my fam­ily. I wanted to write some­thing that would keep me go­ing in life, some­thing that would re­mind me that all of this is worth it. So I wrote ‘keep on walk­ing’ on my right foot, and I guess that’s what I did, I kept on walk­ing.

“Art is an­other way to ex­press my­self. If we can find free­dom when we ex­press our­selves, then why not take that road?”

pho­tos MICK AN­DREWS

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