Surfbeat: Michael Legge-Wilkinson… surfing artist and activist

Surfbeat: Michael Legge-Wilkinson… surfing artist and activist

Michael Legge-Wilkinson has been a journeyman. For the last twenty years he has travelled and worked around Australia with a surfboard under one arm and easel under the other. Michael has also been a long time environmental activist and member of Surfrider Foundation Australia, constantly working to protect the ocean and waves that inspire him.

Michael grew up a long way from the ocean. A move to Newcastle at the age of 18 and he was soon bitten by the surfing bug; “I grew up in Canberra and moved to Newcastle when I left school to study engineering. The decision for me was either art school in Canberra or Engineering at the University of Newcastle. I chose Newcastle because I wanted to be on the coast and learn to surf. I’ve been surfing ever since and currently live on Lord Howe Island with my family. Jim Banks was an early influence on my surfing and I have always loved catching waves at Strickland Bay, Wadjemup Little Island, Lord Howe Island, Aganoa, Savaii and beautiful Somoa.”

A qualified engineer, Michael has been painting for over 25 years: “I have a really strong sense that this must have been in a previous lifetime because I knew when I was four years old that I was a painter and decided then to dedicate my life to being the best artist I could be. I studied engineering so I could be an independent artist. I am self-represented and organise my own events.

I created and ran my first exhibitions on the Gold Coast in 1998. I then created and ran my own gallery in Sydney in 2000/01. Since then I’ve continued organising my own events and currently focus on major works and commissions. Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci are both strong influences on my style. My favourite painting is a portrait I did of Tim Winton set against the bright blue, yellow and red of the Western Australian coast.”

Michael’s works have been exhibited in a diverse number of locations including Rottnest Islands, Kalgoorlie, Lord Howe Island, Perth and the Gold Coast. “Surfing like art is a meditation in its purest form. Both are integral components of my life and well-being. All my work, painting, photography and film focuses on the beauty of our natural environment. I paint with a very fluid brushstroke and, over and above the strong colours and representation, people see and feel a sense of movement in my work.”

If you want to find out more about Michael and his artworks you can find him on Facebook or got to

Written by John Foss