It was the love of adventure that prompted mural artist Seth Womble to put his paintbrush to use on large-scale pieces that now decorate private homes and public places all over the world.
Now Womble, who is moving into his new Hanapepe home, has around five murals and a few other art pieces painted on Kauai and countless worldwide.
You can find Womble’s murals at Banyon Harbor, in private residences and Bubbles Below dive shop in Eleele, and shops throughout the island.
The artist began his career as a roaming painter during what was supposed to be his senior year in high school. Instead of completing school on time, Womble graduated early so he could spend the year traveling.
“I traveled by myself to Costa Rica for some surfing and I went with only $300 in my pocket and the flexibility to stay for a while,” Womble said.
He ended up painting a portrait of Bob Marley on the side of a bungalow as a way to scrape together some cash for living. He ended up making enough money to fund three months in the country — with some to spare.
“I was 17 or 18 and I had to use powdered pigments to get the colors I wanted,” Womble said. “I didn’t have a paint brush, so I ended up using the corner of a foam bed mattress to paint the whole thing.”
He was looking into marine biology as a course of study, but Womble said instead of going back to California and Florida, where he grew up, he found himself in Australia.
For the next 10 years, the artist would bounce between Australia and Southeast Asia, mainly Thailand, working as a scuba instructor and painting whatever murals he could land.
During that time he also became a student at Southern Cross University in Australia, where he studied sculpture and art.
“I wanted to paint but it turned out they had a full studio,” Womble said. “I was told to take sculpting and I would have access to all the art studios and the space to work on whatever I wanted.”
So that’s what he did and now Womble weaves his knowledge of 3D creation into his 2D murals.
“I want to put some depth and distance in my work, so there’s 3D aspects to my painting,” Womble said.
From Australia, Womble hopped over to Kauai, where he knew no one.
“I had no reason to come here, but I’d checked off all the other islands and I ended up getting a job with Fathom Five dive shop,” Womble said.
These days, Womble paints full time and teaches art classes with Kauai Underground Arts in Kalaheo. He also hosts an open mic night on Tuesdays starting at 8 p.m. at Bangkok Happy Bowl in Poipu.
When he’s not painting and coordinating events, he’s
“It’s something I don’t mind doing, especially if it brings people together for community events,” Womble said.