Oceanic Inspirations

Rehoboth Beach artist Rick Lantz’s love of surfing and the ocean shines vividly in his works

Written by Alison Pappas  |  Photography by Pamela Aquilani

Rehoboth Beach artist Rick Lantz specializes in painting vivid, abstract pieces on canvas, surfboards and tropical objects, like tiki sculptures. He credits color and underwater seascapes with largely inspiring his vibrant artwork.

“I try to do some kind of art every day,” said Rick, who attended the Fort Lauderdale Art Institute.

Rick’s passion for the ocean, which synchronizes with his love for painting, ignited when he learned to surf at Fenwick Island at the age of 8. He has been around (or under) water ever since.

“I liked surfing around the Indian River Inlet. The south side of the inlet had a super-fast hollow wave, while the north side had more of a slope-type wave,” recounted Rick.

While he continued surfing and exploring colors through his painting over the years, Rick has also worked in professions that centered around the water. These positions, in turn, provided further inspiration for his artwork.

“I started as a commercial diver for an underwater-construction corporation. It was pretty dangerous, and many of the guys I worked with were ex-military or Navy Seals. I also worked on a sportsfishing boat. That was a fun job that allowed me to meet a lot of interesting people,” he said.

Rick and his wife also operated a nautical-themed shop in Rehoboth Beach for 25 years. Before the couple gave up the shop in 1999, they sold nautical items, shells imported from all over the world, exquisite pieces of coral and more.

Another neat wave in Rick’s professional background is his experience in surfboard shaping. 

“I was making a lot of surfboards for people, especially in the 1970s. I created custom surfboards, and I supplied them to some of the surf shops in Ocean City and Dewey Beach,” shared Rick.

Given his passion for surfing and professional endeavors, it is no surprise that he has applied his painting skills to transform surfboards into works of art. He also enjoys painting tiki-men sculptures, which he sources from a carver in Florida.

When Rick is not working in his in-home studio in Rehoboth Beach, he often travels to Hawaii to see his youngest son and grandchildren. Whenever visiting Hawaii, he likes to go diving in the island’s crystal-clear water and explore the reefs. CS