"The Mission" - Panoramic for The Florida Aquarium, 11ft x 4ft Acrylic on Canvas
These works are a window into the world of Florida’s iconic marine life and is meant to epitomize the mission of the Florida Aquarium; which is to entertain, educate and inspire stewardship for our natural environment, and to protect and restore our Blue Planet. Inspired by The Florida Keys, “The Mission” collection currently hangs in the Florida Aquarium's conference room, and acts as a visual reminder for the staff and volunteers as to why they are committed to saving Florida’s disappearing Coast and endangered marine life.
- The collection includes an 11ft x 4ft panoramic made up of three separate canvases and one stand-alone vertical 3ft x 4ft canvas, all representing endangered and threatened marine life living on Florida’s coast.
- The panoramic portion of this commission is the largest piece I have worked on to date, consisting of over 120 hours of painting, and days of research on Florida’s Great Barrier Reef, all completed in a three-month timespan.
- The size of the collection was very important, because the viewer needed to feel as if they were surrounded by the reef, integrated with it, and truly experiencing the rush of standing next to a life sized Octopus, Eel, Sea Turtle and Sand Tiger Shark.
- The Florida Aquarium’s dedication to their mission was the initial inspiration for the collection, but it quickly grew into a need to tell the story of our disappearing Great Florida Barrier Reef, the only living reef in the continental United States.
- After researching the Aquariums environmental programs, I gained further inspiration from their Green Sea Turtle Research and rehabilitation program, Coral Restoration Project and the latest initiative to study and successfully raise Threatened Sand Tiger Sharks from birth to adulthood.
- The final characters to be painted were based off of The Aquariums most charismatic animals; Flip the Green Sea Turtle, Missy the Sand Tiger Shark, Scylla the Octopus, and the Moray Eel couple who live alongside them.
Sand Tiger Shark
"Representing these animals and their home; Florida’s Great Barrier Reef, was crucial because they represent one story in Florida’s history, and this story is quickly disappearing."
The Animals and The Art:
"Moray Eels", 36" x 48" Acrylic on Canvas
The moray eels, who are peeking out from their home to witness the arrival of an age old nomad, The Green Sea Turtle. Often found as couples, the Moray Eels acts as a clean-up crew for the reef and it’s an amazing experience meeting these curious residents when scuba diving!
"Green Sea Turtle", 36" x 48" Acrylic on Canvas
The focus in the central portion of the panoramic is obviously the Sea Turtle, but the key element that needed to be emphasized is the forest of Staghorn Coral that is flourishing throughout the artwork, representing a time when Florida coral reefs teemed with this now highly endangered coral. Currently The Florida Aquarium and The Coral Restoration Foundation are working together to raise Coral in gardens and “Plant” them in the wild to regrow damaged reefs!
"Common Octopus", 36" x 48" Acrylic on Canvas
With her wild red colors and swirling tentacles, the intriguing Common Octopus completes the panoramic, and inspires a feeling of joy in her movements. With an artistic focus on color, light, and movement, the panoramic represents a pristine and healthy Florida coral environment. With these elements, the collection shares the grandeur of this unique environment and tells the collective story of the reef, in order to preserve and convey its true impression and character.
"Sand Tiger Shark", 36" x 48" Acrylic on Canvas
Separate, but a key character in “The Mission” is the mystifying Sand Tiger Shark. Missy, the shark who inspired this piece, has captivated me since day one at the Aquarium. Feeling a draw to her, she needed to be represented in the most vibrant way possible, with lots of color and a focus on connecting the viewer to her soul through capturing the audience with her eyes. I didn’t want her to look like other common portraits of sharks where they seem mindless, ferocious and almost lifeless. She needed to feel as if she was breathing and looking at you intelligently, reflecting the true character of these beautiful and quite gentle animals.
Together with the Florida Aquarium, we support the preservation of Wild Florida and the organizations dedicated to educating and protecting our shared heritage in order to defend endangered species like Sea Turtles, preserve historical land and coastline found nowhere else, and to cultivate an even healthier Florida economy based on eco-tourism. We need your help, you who love Florida and her beautiful coast, to keep our paradise clean, safe and preserved so generations to come can enjoy America’s paradise.
- With the purchase of any "The Mission" collection print, a percentage of the profits will immediately be donated to the Florida Aquarium and help fund initiatives like the Coral Restoration Project in the Keys.
- To learn more about available prints, please visit the Gallery. Artwork is available as a collection, or as an individual piece.
- To learn more about the Florida Aquarium's projects please visit The Florida Aquarium.
Thanks for reading!