The Coast News Group
Kevin Anderson touches up his mural at the Leucadia Mobil gas station. Photo courtesy of Kyle Thomas
A Brush with Art Rancho Santa Fe

Cardiff artist Kevin Anderson: ‘A true soul man’

If you ever pass a longhaired surfer-type painting a canvas atop a well-worn easel somewhere along the coast, there’s a possibility it’s Cardiff resident Kevin Anderson working on a new seascape. 

If the artist is wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat in the company of a Dachshund, you’ll know almost certainly that it’s him. And if you strike up a conversation with the painter, you may be fortunate enough to walk away with a freshly painted Kevin Anderson original.

According to longtime Anderson collector and Cardiff resident Eva Engelsberger, “Kevin has such a gift for artistically portraying our Cardiff lifestyle and all that it represents.” She says of Anderson’s prized depictions of our idyllic environment, “The paintings often have a buyer before they’re even completed, as someone passing by will simply have to buy what is being created by Kevin that day.”

For nearly 45 years Anderson has enjoyed North County’s coastal lifestyle and scenery, which have often become the subject of his paintings and murals.

Known for his brilliantly colored paintings of universal appeal, Anderson’s style is easily recognizable in many outdoor murals, the first of which was Kealani’s in Encinitas. His popularity as a muralist has steadily gained momentum through the past several years, with a long list to his credit including Cardiff’s Kook’s Cafe and Leucadia’s Mobil gas station, as well as Veteran’s Village of San Diego, the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado and Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas.

His notable indoor murals include the “Surfing Swami” at Swami’s Cafe, and The Encinitas Cafe’s 360-degree panoramic landscape.

His private mural commissions have included the home of celebrity Eddie Van Halen and many homes in La Jolla, Rancho Santa Fe, Fairbanks, Santa Barbara and Morro Bay.

Anderson tells of an early pivotal experience in his artistic development as his high school teacher demonstrated how to render the sparkle and highlights of a clear, blue glass ashtray. He says, “From that lesson I went on to water, waves and reflections, that have always been some of my favorite subjects.” Anderson’s masterful capture of translucence is a prominent feature of his artwork.

With a camper truck and burning desire to become an artist, Anderson earned his art degree from Long Beach State. After apprenticing with an illustrator, his freelance illustrations were featured in countless magazines, books and newspapers.

Known for his generosity, Anderson says of donating artwork to benefit local causes, “If I can help a cause with art, I’m in.”

Mary Beth Howard, wife of surf legend Tommy Lewis, tells that Anderson painted a canvas of her husband’s favorite Cardiff beach scene, which he delivered to Tommy’s hospital bedside saying, “Since you can’t go to the beach, I’ll bring the beach to you.” She says of Anderson, “Kevin is incredible. A true soul man.”

On Oct. 6 Anderson will be painting during Arts Alive on the Solana Beach Rail Trail, and on Oct. 27 at Cardiff Seaside Beach during the Cardiff Surf Classic and Green Beach Fair.

His work can be seen at

Kay Colvin is an art consultant and director of the L Street Fine Art Gallery in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. She specializes in promoting emerging and mid-career artists and bringing enrichment programs to elementary schools through The Kid’s College. Contact her at