If you are passionate about ocean adventures and want to learn about a multi-talented maritime artist who has paved her own unique path to fame, Monique Richter is the girl for you! Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Monique is a former professional wakeboarder, renowned faux teakwood and platinum lettering artist, and owner of what will soon become an equine therapy paradise.
Lifelong Ocean Enthusiast: “When I see water, I see an adventure”
Growing up in one of the most famous beach towns in Florida, it’s not surprising that this real-life mermaid was immersed in outdoor ocean culture from day one.
At age 16, Monique started taking wakeboarding seriously, even occasionally skipping class to sneak off to the beach. It was at this young age that her wakeboarding career achieved professional status, and she even won second place in the open women’s division of the 2006 national championship. While her career in the sport spanned ten years, in 2015 she was forced to retire when she suffered a broken toe that halted her career.
Although wakeboarding was over for her, nothing could turn her away from the ocean. She soon after joined the crew of a yacht and became a captain of a marlin boat running out of St. Thomas, among a growing group of female skippers. It was while she was in the Bahamas that she saw a boat painted to look like real teak wood, the main material ships had been constructed from since the 16th century, that sparked the inspiration that truly changed her life.
Meet “Faux-Nique” the Renowned Fort Lauderdale Maritime Artist
Art has always been a part of the picture for Monique, so when she fell into the opportunity to combine her two great loves of art and the ocean, it was as if all the stars aligned.
Back in 2017 while in Pompano Beach, Monique boldly approached boatbuilder Roy Merritt of Merritt’s Boat and Engine Works and asked if she could do faux teak painting on one of his boats. Impressed by her eagerness, she was given a test project of painting a yacht door, and quickly was promoted to painting a $16 million, 72-foot Merritt.
Three years later, Monique had created a name for herself in the boat-painting market. She paints all of her boats freehand with a skill so precise that her work could be mistaken for real teak.
Adding to her boat-painting services, Monique soon moved on to master another maritime art form: gold and platinum leaf lettering. Everyone has seen the stunning lettering of boat names gilded in gold, and while many modern boats utilize vinyl stickers for their lettering, Monique is dedicated to preserving the dying art of gilding. She learned this skill through the expertise of John Teeto, a Fort Lauderdale-based “master gold leafer” who was impressed by Monique’s work ethic and passion for her craft. While Monique describes her first gold leafing job in Costa Rica as a miserable failure, once she figured it out, she was able to transform a bland boat into a true work of art.
Monique estimates that she paints over 200 boats every year, which is incredible, considering the attention to detail and high level of craftsmanship. Many artists in the industry will only complete around 12 projects every year, so it is no surprise that Monique’s drive helps her to stand out amongst her competitors.
Among the impressive quantity of boats that she has painted during her time in the industry, she has worked on the exteriors of sportfishing boats for famous clients including Johnny Depp, Jimmy Buffet, and Alan Jackson.
An Equine Dream-Come-True at Blue Ridge Farm
If you thought wakeboarding, captaining a boat, and mastering fine art was enough adventure for one lifetime, you’d be right — for anyone other than Monique!
Monique grew up with a love of riding horses, spending her summers at a horse camp in Davie as a child and participating in dressage. As if her revolutionary art career wasn’t enough, Monique was able to return to her childhood love and put her earnings from painting boats toward her dream of transforming a 10-acre lot in Jupiter Farms into an equestrian facility. Coining the property ‘Blue Ridge Farms,’ (@blueridge_farms) Monique has big plans for developing her own personal horse farm into a facility where children with disabilities can visit to learn about horses and participate in equine therapy.
She loves spending time with her horses and hopes to continue boarding horses during the dressage season. Additionally, she dreams of one day including a wedding venue on the oak tree-covered property to share her slice of paradise with the world.
Forever a Saltsy Sea Star
Now with over 40,000 followers on her @artist_monique_richter Instagram, Monique continues to share her journey of combining her artistic, maritime, and equine passions with the world. This talented powerhouse is inspirational for young women everywhere who want to pave their way in a predominantly male field without sacrificing their feminine charm. Further, she inspires her followers to always follow their dreams and to embrace all their passions — just as this Saltsy Sea Star has done in her own life!
Are you a cowgirl mermaid just like Monique? We made these Saltsy boot stickers just for you! That way you can always bring your boots to the beach, whether it’s on your water bottle, cooler, or car: