Fans of Main Beach can now bring 1,000 pieces of it home thanks to new local jigsaw puzzle company Mad House Art Company, started by longtime surfing friends Norm Petersen and Kurt Snibbe.
In the past year, Petersen and Snibbe have created six puzzles – all with a local flavor – including Doheny Beach, San Onofre, Trestles, Surf City Tsunami, the Main Beach at Laguna, as well as producing a puzzle from the iconic Endless Summer movie poster for the Dana Point Film Festival.
Each puzzle takes about six weeks to finish – starting with a pencil sketch to the final product.
Petersen said the Main Beach puzzle is slightly different as it’s the first they’ve created that’s not a surf spot. The new location allowed Snibbe more freedom to drop in Laguna-specific easter eggs into his artwork, like the greeter Eiler Larsen.
“It’s a fun process for me as an artist. I’ve always loved to sit down and let my mind kind of wander,” Snibbe said. “There’s no real logic to it, but things just pop into my head.”
Mad House Art Company adds a local donation component to every puzzle they sell. For the Main Beach puzzle, they donate some of the proceeds to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.
“When we did San Onofre, our bestselling puzzle so far, we decided to donate to the San Onofre Parks Foundation, which encompasses the Lowers puzzle too. We donate to the Doheny Park Foundation with the Doheny puzzle,” Petersen said. “It’s a great way to directly support our local beaches.”
Snibbe’s inspiration to draw surf scenes came the day after the infamous 2022 Oscars when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock.
“I paddled out, and a little wave slapped my board into my face,” Snibbe said. “I started picturing all these faces in the waves and making little monsters out of them. Just letting my imagination go wild. Then, after not being able to draw for a while because of an injury, I went back home and started drawing what I love, which is drawing surf scenes.”
Snibbe said his style is heavily influenced by Mad Magazine, hence the name: Mad House Art Company.
“I started sending some of my little cartoons to my surf friends,” Snibbe said. “Then it got bigger and bigger and more site specific. Norm asked me what I was going to do with all my art. And I responded, “I don’t know, puzzles, maybe?”
In the surf scenes, many of the locals the Petersen and Snibbe surf with are included, along with Snibbe himself, who says he cameos himself as every surfer who is “wiping out.”
“I’m in every one of these puzzles. I’m the one taking a beating out in the ocean,” he laughed.
Madhouse puzzles can be found at Main Beach Toys and Games on 150 Laguna Avenue. They’re also available in surf shops, hardware stores and gift shops from San Clemente to Huntington Beach and for purchase online.
Find out more about Madhouse Art Company at www.madhouseartco.com or on Instagram at @madhouseartco.