Many of David Macomber's fondest memories have taken place at the Jersey Shore.
Macomber, a professional artist and an avid surfer, is a native of Cape May. The shore, he said, has been the inspiration behind much of his artwork and has led him to his passion - surfing.
So after Hurricane Sandy devastated the coastal areas of New Jersey and New York, Macomber immediately began brainstorming ways to help.
"Like everyone, when the hurricane hit, I thought, 'What can I do to help?'" he said. "Being an artist, art was the first idea that came to mind."
Macomber recently completed an 8-by-20-foot New Jersey-themed mural to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy relief. He painted the colossal mural on a wall of plywood, then cut up the finished mural into 30 square segments, which are being auctioned off individually to raise money for the cause. The proceeds of the sales will benefit Waves for Water, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping rebuild the surf-based communities in New Jersey and New York that were affected by the storm.
Macomber decided to paint the mural while on the Wildwood Boardwalk. Morey's Piers lent him his workspace - on its Boardwalk pier, with the ocean as his backdrop and the silhouette of its roller coaster in his peripheral vision - and Macomber then screwed the plywood wall into the Boardwalk planks to create an easel.
"I could have just painted the piece in my garage or backyard, but I thought it would be cool to paint it near the beach," he said. "It's dedicated to the Jersey shore, and I live right here."
At first glance and in its entirety, the mural has the words "Strength in Unity" painted in white, swirly script overtop of a multicolor background. But upon closer examination, the mural contains smaller New Jersey-themed paintings, phrases and photographs, including photographs Macomber took of Hurricane Sandy damage, local surfers and a quote Bruce Springsteen gave during his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The idea of cutting the mural into segments and selling them individually symbolizes New Jerseyans coming together to support the rebuilding effort.
"Individually it doesn't look like much," Macomber said as he gazed over one square segment of the already dismantled and divided mural. "It's very abstract, and it is what it is. But when it's all together, it's a complete piece of artwork."
He said his hope is that the people who purchase the pieces realize that their small contribution is a big help.
"Individually, we all come together, and we do what we can for a greater thing. You can't make difference alone, I can't make a difference alone, but together we can," Macomber said. "It's like me as an artist. My goal is to raise $3,000 with every piece of this art I sell, selling each piece for an minimum of $100. That's nothing towards the billions of dollars in damage, but everyone comes together and does their part, and that's strength and unity."
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To see more
Time lapse video of the mural's progression created by Morey's Piers: youtube.com/watch?v=fA85IhiZr60&list=UURx5ZGQXfuQvB7avvjpABXQ&index=1.
Another video based on the project, courtesy of Jesse Lambert: youtube.com/watch?v=2IK8xseUBYk&feature=youtu.be
To purchase piece of the art, visit: sharksugar.com
Bidding starts at $100 each.
To learn more about Waves for Water, visit wavesforwater.org