studio tour clark hipolito
photograph by Eric Waters

Ten years ago, when artist and designer Clark Hipolito refurbished and painted a classic “egg” surfboard he bought for $70, people “on the line” waiting for waves began to ask him to work on their own boards. Now, having applied his creativity to hundreds of boards — adding touches like quotes, photographs on rice paper, and classic wood grains you’ll recall from the “Surfin’ Safari” days of The Beach Boys — Hipolito has done the same with guitars and skateboards. In a 12-by-12 home studio (as well as a larger studio off-site), with acrylic paint, epoxy, resin, and “lots and lots of sanders,” he transforms white fiberglass slabs into art that’s seaworthy enough for hanging 10. Most folks, though, hang them on their walls.

Hipolito is also a muralist: Find his work at the Five Points intersection and outside Lincoln Theatre, both in Raleigh. See more of Hipolito’s work at

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Susan Stafford Kelly was raised in Rutherfordton. She attended UNC-Chapel Hill and earned a Master of Fine Arts from Warren Wilson College. She is the author of Carolina Classics, a collection of essays that have appeared in Our State, and five novels: How Close We Come, Even Now, The Last of Something, Now You Know, and By Accident. Susan has three grown children and lives in Greensboro with her husband, Sterling.