Art Study: The 101 Perfect Waves project from Hilton Alves

Drawing a bead on Hilton Alves’s art influences is difficult. At first glance, his work lies somewhere between the celestial boomer vibe of Wyland and the vintage kitsch of a tiki bar. But with a heavy stoke factor. Self-trained, Hilton is on a quest to paint 101 big-ass wave murals. He’s well way with number six of the series decorating the WaveHouse, in Sentosa Island, Singapore.

First off, tell us briefly about yourself and your art study.
I was born in Santos, Sao Paulo Brazil. I am a sports lover since childhood and in 1990 at 10 years old, I started surfing in my hometown Guaruja with my brother Wallace. Since elementary school I had a feeling that I could be an artist. But only at 20 years old I started painting on canvas and with the support of my father, I became a full-time artist in July 2000. By being self-taught, it helped me to paint waves in many different ways, shapes and sizes. I always try to capture the energy and the beauty of the ocean whether it’s on canvases or murals.

Hilton Alves artwork wave pool
Hilton Alves with his WaveHouse Singapore wave pool mural. The artist hopes to complete 101 murals globally in the next few years. He’s painted 38 so far.

What is the 101 Perfect Waves project?
It’s an international mural project where my goal is to paint 101 wave murals around the world. The project started in 2013, on Oahu, Hawaii. I painted a very big mural featuring Pipeline as Mural 01/101, then headed to Brazil, then Maui, Singapore, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston and Israel. 38 wave mural have been painted so far since then.

What is the biggest challenge to the 101 Perfect Waves project?
It depends on the project, sometimes funding the whole thing is challenging. I’d say that comes first I guess. One of my goals with the 101 project is to paint the largest mural in the world, to be registered on the Guinness Book of World Records and doing the logistics and funding for a project like that will be challenging. Somehow I always find solutions to accomplish my goals.

Hilton’s work emphasizes the colors that emerge through the transparency of water.

Have you done any paintings of wave pools?
Yes, I did some canvases in the past and two wave murals at the WaveHouse, in Sentosa Island, Singapore. I’ve been following wave pools since then and getting inspired for future paintings for sure. I want to include more wave pools on the international list of the 101 Perfect Waves too.

Your work has a wonderful surreal light to it, where does this cross over with wave pools?
When we see a perfect wave breaking on a wave pool, we can see different colors and light through that transparency in the water. I believe my work has a little bit of that too.

Hilton Alves artwork wave pool
Hilton Alves with mural number 28.

For more of Hilton’s work check out The Art of Hilton