Artist Bios

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FINE ART AMBASSADORS

Aaron Chang

ARTIST STATEMENTMy passion is to share my love and intimate connection with the ocean and create art that instills a sense of wonder in the beauty of creation.

BIO:  Aaron Chang is an internationally acclaimed fine art photographer who owns two thriving art galleries in California – one in Solana Beach and the other in Carmel-by-the-Sea. He spent 25 years as a senior photographer at Surfing magazine, traveling to the far reaches of the globe. During this time, Chang set new standards for modern ocean photography.

Alex Slawek

ARTIST STATEMENT: I am passionate about the ocean, traveling to explore it further, and to capture moments that it gives.

BIO:  Alex is an ocean-inspired photographer.

 

Aristotle

ARTIST STATEMENT: WILDCOAST is such a great charity to help save my favorite place in the world.

BIO: Born and raised in Delray Beach, Florida, Aristotle Prakas grew up near the ocean in Delray Beach, Florida. He started surfing and then also making his own boards a few months later. His passion for the ocean goes beyond surfboards. He finds his peace of mind there too.

Becky Berreth

ARTIST STATEMENT:  I'm an outdoor adventurist and can appreciate the hard work and dedication WIDCOAST puts forth to help conserve our beautiful coastal and marine ecosystems. We all need to work together to make a positive impact and I hope my art can bring light to this worthy cause.

BIO: San Diego-based artist, Becky Berreth is known for her vibrant, bold artwork, inspired by raw emotion and the beauty that comes from it. While she loves creating pieces on handcrafted wood, she also fell in love with using oils because of the textures. She hopes that her art will evoke, inspire and give a sense of wonderment.

Bil Zelman

ARTIST STATEMENT: I spent the past four years focusing my camera on the fragile places where man and nature collide and begin my most recent book with images of mangroves that have since been destroyed by man-made effect. WILDCOAST’s commitment to protecting what remains of the world’s shorelines and wetlands has me committed to supporting them in return.

BIO: Bil Zelman has made portraits for myriad A-listers from Taylor Swift and Kristen Wiig to John Legend and the Rolling Stones, been named Top 200 Photographers Worldwide fifteen years in a row and received the International Center for Photography’s Deeper Perspective Award in 2019. Zelman’s 2020 nature book, And Here We Are, regarding the current rate of extinctions, is currently short-listed for the Aperture Foundation Paris Book Prize.

Briar West

ARTIST STATEMENT: From a young age the ocean has been the backdrop to the happiest days of my life. I know I am not alone in this statement. The ocean gives us life in more ways that we can count. And it’s voiceless in a time it’s in dire need to be heard. I’m here, I’m listening, and excited to do what I can to give back.

BIO: A self-taught, fluid artist, born and raised in Southern California. Briar grew up near the ocean and spent much of her childhood in the water. There’s no coincidence that her love of water can be felt in her art. Each piece is its own lesson in the importance of patience, timing, and letting go. She sees a graceful honesty in imperfection and finds the beauty in chaos and then frames it. Fluid art has reinforced what life has taught her: Each one of us is different. None of which can ever be duplicated. We’re all imperfectly perfect. And that’s a beautiful thing. 

 

Catherine Girard

ARTIST STATEMENT: What WILDCOAST does for our oceans is what we should all be doing individually because everything helps.

BIO: Born and raised in the province of Quebec, Canada, Catherine Girard started ocean photography while lifeguarding in Florida. As a diver, surfer, and swimmer her fascination with the ocean grew.

 

CELESTE BYERS

ARTIST STATEMENT: I wholeheartedly agree with WILDCOAST’s mission to conserve coastal and marine ecosystems and I am excited to be a part of their 20th anniversary exhibition and fundraiser.

BIO: Celeste Byers is an artist and muralist from Ocean Beach in San Diego, California. Growing up blocks from the beach in a family of nature lovers distilled in her a love for the ocean, our planet, and all of its inhabitants. Since 2013, she has made art about a variety of ocean issues ranging from endangered species and underwater sonar pollution to sustainable fishing practices and the problems with marine mammal captivity.

 

Chris DeRubies

ARTISTIC STATEMENT: All art should inspire and evoke emotion….Art should be something you can actually feel.

Bio: Innovative artist Chris DeRubies’ style is described as "Abstract Sensualism," which he developed and pioneered as a young artist. He introduced chemicals and paints to create unique reactions and bring his art to life. “I favor metal because I can combine a form of sculpture as the foundation for my expression and have found a way to enhance my ability to communicate emotions more intently.” His works are on permanent display in high-end galleries throughout the United States and abroad.

 

Clare Salisbury

ARTIST STATEMENT: WILDCOAST is an amazing organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the marine life around us. I am so happy to be involved with such an organization and be able to donate my paintings to benefit their efforts.

BIO: Clare is an international artist and new resident to San Diego. She obtained her BFA in Studio Art from State University of New York Oswego and now teaches painting. Clare specializes in live art performances and has collectors around the world. Her latest philanthropy has been integrating her art with environmental conservation efforts, specifically ocean clean up.

 

Claudio Contreras Koob

ARTIST STATEMENT: I try to convey that each species, big or small, is beautiful and an important component of a healthy environment.

BIO: Claudio is a nature photographer specializing in conservation-related issues all over Mexico. He is an associate member of the International League of Conservation Photographers. He has worked closely with WILDCOAST, documenting their conservation efforts since 2014.

 

Drasko Bogdanovic

ARTIST STATEMENT: Creativity is my purest relationship to a tumultuous, and short lived, life. I thrive in moments when I exist in a creative state to balance out the negative. I wish to promote a positive and honest imprint on those who interact with myself and my art.

BIO: A professional photographer based out of California, Drasko’s photography focuses on aspects of fine art reflected within the natural beauty of the ocean and human form. His photography focuses on aspects of fine art reflected within the natural beauty of the ocean and human form. Spontaneity and professionalism are his forte; new opportunity and constant learning, his mantra.

 

Edwin Vasquez

Artist Statement: My art shows my experiences in Oaxaca, Mexico. I project its culture; its beautiful intricacy. My art is a reflection of life in Mexico and what is happening to people, wildlife, and culture. These paintings start a conversation about coastal and sea life. In this way, my art reflects and supports WILDCOAST's mission, projects, and philosophies, and I am happy to contribute my work to this event.

BIO: Edwin is a self-taught artist raised between two cultures. While based in Escondido, CA, his travels through Mexico, exploring the landscape and culture, have greatly influenced his work.

Enrique Ciapara

BIO: Tijuana-based artist who approaches the canvas like a blank page of a poetic text book. In his paintings, layers of colors and schematic drawing freely create narratives that employ allusion and dislocation. Suggestive figures, words and abstract scrawls are all painted or drawn on large fields of finely applied color.

 

ERIC ZENER

ARTIST STATEMENT: The connection between the inspiration of my work and the mission of WILDCOAST could not be more clear. Without the preservation of our marine ecosystems, we will lose the refuge and renewal that are at the heart of what I am connecting to in my work.

BIO: Eric Zener, the San Francisco-based, photo realist painter, has been exhibited in numerous galleries across the US and internationally for the last 30 years. ”My work reflects our collective desire for transformation into something ideal. In my paintings I seek to create a sense of sanctuary using the subject of water and our connection with it. I use our relationship with water, nature and each other as a metaphor for transformation, refuge and renewal. Often I use the image of a plunge or splash as symbolic of the portal water leads us through. The bubbles are the exhalation of the past; a letting go. I believe that even in its ephemeral state, these moments lift us – freeing us from the weight of our world and allowing us to connect to something larger than ourselves; something maternal and eternal.”

 

Hannah Van Veen

ARTIST STATEMENT: The reason why I wanted to support WILDCOAST is because I have a huge love for our ocean. I admire the work that WILDCOAST is doing in Baja and my hometown of Encinitas.

BIO: A self-taught artist with a passion for woodworking, Hannah grew up in a surfing and fishing family and the ocean has always played a huge part in her life. Inspiration for her piece comes from the beauty she witnesses while traveling, surfing, and diving.

 

Hetty Easter

ARTIST STATEMENT: My pictures are always centered around nature. "To me, these paintings are like the intimate memories of a first glance, the vestal views. It is my hope that by appreciating this moment one can also reflect on how incredibly precious it is.

BIO: A New York artist raised in the small, Finger Lakes town of Skaneateles, Hetty has always felt deeply connected to nature. She studied painting at the Art Students League in NYC and Incamanatti in Philadelphia under Nelson Shanks. She is best known for her seasonal plein air landscape paintings and portraits as well as her larger, abstract nature-inspired circles. Her latest works are an exploration of water. Hetty’s work is exhibited in galleries, retail establishments, nature centers, museums, and her annual open studio party. Her work lives in private collections throughout the world. Currently she divides her time between Upstate New York, the Mid-Atlantic states and France.

 

India McHale

ARTIST STATEMENT: I am passionate about protecting our natural environment and keeping our oceans clean. Through the medium of art, I hope that young people can connect to these causes to bring about the changes similar to that WILDCOAST advocates for through its work.

BIO: Born in England and raised in Sydney and San Diego, India is an emerging artist who draws from her experiences of living and growing up in different cultures and social contexts. She works in a large variety of mediums, including charcoal, acrylic and ink. Through her art she hopes to create connection and resonance, enabling others to relate, think and feel through immersion in her work.

 

Jeremy Romero

ARTIST STATEMENT: I have always wanted to make art with a deeper impact then just something nice to look at. The fact that I know the proceeds of my donations will go towards protecting, rehabilitating, and creating awareness for such special and essential ecosystems, is immensely rewarding.

BIO: An avid surfer, rock climber and mountain biker, Jeremy is genuinely inspired by the landscapes he interacts with in California, as is his artwork. Jeremy blends his love for landscapes and traditional plein air approach with the urban street art style. He lives and makes art out of San Clemente, CA.

 

Karissa Kaye

ARTIST STATEMENT: My mixed media creations are influenced by my love for the ocean and the skate/surf culture that surrounds me.

BIO: Based out of Oceanside, CA. Karissa brings a whimsical, ethereal, and detailed aspect into her work using an array of mediums such as pen & ink, watercolor, and acrylic.

 

Luis Garzón Masabó

Artist Statement: Art and Nature. Art and Society. Art and Community. This is what I identify with. Social activism through art.

 

Marion Howard

ARTIST STATEMENT: I love nature and the earth and as so much of the world’s beauty has been eroded by mankind, I try my hardest to preserve it in my artwork.

BIO: Marion Howard is a visual watercolor artist with a background in fashion advertising, illustration, and printmaking. She has traveled internationally, and every experience, every vantage point taken in by her eyes seeps out from her brush. Over the years, she has been featured in countless galleries and museums, and has taken home several best in show awards. She has created a vast and brilliant library of art over the past four decades, diverse in its scope and aim. A native of Savannah, Georgia, she now lives in Morristown, New Jersey.

 

Marissa Quinn

ARTIST STATEMENT: I believe that art is a tool for educating and healing because it speaks to us of important issues beyond the scope of words, and into the spirit. Through the pairing of art and education, WILDCOAST is able to make a broader impact in their mission to save our seas, and ultimately our planet. I am inspired to continue the work of spreading the mission and message of WILDCOAST through the work of my hands and through telling the stories of the wildlife they work so hard to heal.

BIO: Marissa, who has an MFA, is an Adjunct Professor of Art at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. She has permanent mural installations in Michigan, Maryland, Ohio, California, and the Island of Bali. Her  delicate and inimitable penwork guides the viewer through an emotional journey of nature’s paradox of growth through decay. Her work is a glimpse into the deep caverns of the internal mindscape, based on personal visions and dream states. Known for their stunning detail, Quinn’s pieces are as recognizable as they are thought provoking.

 

MERRIE OKIE

ARTIST STATEMENT: Current environmental and societal issues have been my focus but relaying and conveying these sensitive issues with a sense of humor is my goal. I want you to feel an emotion from my love of the ocean, our planet, and the celebration of humanity. I am honored to be part of the WILDCOAST celebration.

BIO: Merrie Okie transforms her experiences into a painted world, combining fantasy, whimsical imagery, and reality. Wildly colorful and dense with imagery, her paintings have sold to collectors all over the world including restaurateur Jeremiah Towers, Seymour Knox of the Albright Knox Gallery, the Los Angeles City Hall Bridge Gallery, and her alma mater USC.  She’s been shown in galleries in Santa Monica, San Francisco, Scottsdale, Aspen, Santa Fe and the Salon Des Independences at the Grand Palais in Paris. She’s painted a 200-foot mural in downtown Los Angeles with the help of the local street gang Dogtown and had her art featured in the indie film When the Party’s Over.

 

Miguel Ángel de la Cueva

ARTIST STATEMENT: I support environmental and cultural conservation through ethical photography and filmmaking.

BIO: Award-winning photographer Miguel Ángel de la Cueva is a documentary photographer who focuses on the natural and cultural heritage of northern Mexico. He supports environmental and cultural conservation through ethical photography and filmmaking. He has worked directly with WILDCOAST documenting their project sites and conservation work. His work has been published in many well-known magazines including National Geographic, GEO France, ELLE and Sierra.

Piper

ARTIST STATEMENT: Teaming up with WILDCOAST has been a perfect opportunity to align my love of art with my passion for protecting the ocean.

BIO: Raised along the southern Californian coast, Piper cultivated a deep love and respect for the ocean and the life within it. Piper always seeks to activate his art as a tool of advocacy to amplify awareness around ecology, social justice, or mental health.

Rachel DeJohn

ARTIST STATEMENT: I try and spread positivity in my art and share my love of the sea, nature and the goodness it brings.

BIO: I am a flower child born in the wrong era wandering around in the now. I started painting live at a music festival about 10 years ago.  I set up with my umbrella and a beach blanket and have been doing art shows ever since, although now I do pop up markets outside my camper van while chasing waves. I love to paint with acrylic paint on scrap materials like wood or sustainable earth friendly items. I also love to hand draw illustrations with ink that I scan in to create digital drawings. I just hope to spread smiles and stoke.

 

Ricardo Álvarez Cruz

ARTIST STATEMENT: My artistic work reflects the relationship of the human being with the universe. In a personal way, it is the manifestation of the bond that I have with the cosmos.

BIO:  Ricardo Alvarez Cruz is Tijuana-based artist. “In my most recent work using volumetric constructions, I investigate the interconnectedness of space in what I call the two-dimensional. I express in a very abstract way, both formally and conceptually, the polarity of matter. In one series I work the condensation of energy and in the other the containment of the vacuum. With a purist aesthetic and an aseptic look, I try to capture the attention of the viewer. I seek to provoke a strong and instantaneous impact, sometimes of strangeness, sometimes of perplexity, sometimes of tranquility; but always an open door to stop the noise of the rational mind, for those who decide to continue the journey and enter the pure vibration of the material, shape and color.”

 

Silvestre Miranda

ARTIST STATEMENT: Staying in balance with our natural surroundings is essential to its and our own survival, and for future generations. It is our duty as citizens of this globe to maintain and protect it.

BIO: Born and raised in Tijuana, México, Silvestre Miranda began painting and drawing at a young age and then graduated from Iberoamericana University as a graphic designer. His main focus is primarily oil painting; experimenting with distortion effects, such as water views, and pixelated art. His work can be found in galleries in Tijuana, Rosarito, Tecate, Mexicali; ICBC, Casas de Cultura, CEART, Distrito 10, and Universities UABC, IBERO, Casa del Tunel Art Center, among others.

 

Stefanie Bales

ARTIST STATEMENT: The coastal geographies of Southern California are one of my primary sources of inspiration for the work that I create—preserving and protecting them is pivotal. WILDCOAST’S mission is paramount.

BIO: Stefanie is a San Diego-based contemporary artist specializing in fine art painting, modern murals, and commission-based projects. She’s inspired by the interaction of light and landscape, as evident in her whimsical typologies and soft, feminine palettes. Her client list includes the Balboa Park Conservancy, The San Diego Museum of Art, Ansun BioPharma, One Paseo, Flower Hill Promenade, The Carlsbad Forum, and Park 12 Collection. Her work can be found in both public and private collections across the country and internationally. Her gallery, Stefanie Bales Fine Art, is in the heart of Little Italy.

 

Taylor Coryn Alpert

ARTIST STATEMENT: Through the spontaneous use of color, texture, and ink my art represents the fluidity and beauty of nature. I am so passionate about our environment and the land that inspires me to paint. I represent WILDCOAST in order to keep our earth beautiful for the next generations to come.

BIO:  San Clemente-based artist Taylor found a love for watercolor and ink after traveling through the Southwest, experiencing the beauty of the Pueblo and Navajo Tribes. Her work narrates the landscapes and native culture she has learned to respect and love through stories from her grandmother, an anthropologist. This shaped her intention with line work and symbols.

 

Taylor Gallegos

ARTIST STAEMENT: I'm donating artwork to this event because WILDCOAST is doing exactly what I want my artwork to do in the world. I want it to raise awareness, and push for conservation and preservation of the wild landscapes that need it.

BIO: A local Carlsbad painter specializing in murals, live art and studio painting, Taylor’s work focuses on connection, unity, creativity and flow.

Troy Brajkovich

ARTIST STATEMENT: Nature is the source of my inspiration. At the end of the day, a diverse and healthy environment is the most important thing we have, and we’re destroying it.  We need to come together to protect Earth any and every way possible?  I am honored to give my work back to the source in support of this mission.

BIO: Troy grew up on the rugged and rural central coast of California, where the core surf culture was immersed in the staggering beauty of the landscapes. It was this powerful intersection of sub-culture and setting that inspired early obsession with photography. Troy’s love for traveling and exotic experiences have taken him to more than 20 countries and each have contributed to the development of his understanding of humanity and nature as subject of visual art. He works as a director, cinematographer, editor, and photographer.

 

Victor Roman

BIO:  As a young child Victor received pen drawings from his uncle, and their beautiful craftsmanship and extreme detail inspired Victor’s love of art which you can see echoed in his art. Victor’s passion for expressing himself through art motivates him to sketch and paint whenever he can. Each beautiful art piece is masterfully painted on wood; a feat accomplished by few artists.  The subjects he paints evoke complex emotions in the viewer, who are challenged to consider their feelings and develop their own interpretation of his art.

 

Virginie Le Boursicaud Mazureau

ARTIST STATEMENT:  I'm honored to be part of the art auction organized by WILDCOAST and curated by the Gracey Lane Gallery. Flora and Fauna, and nature in general have always been recurrent themes I worked on. I'm aligned with the philosophy of WILDCOAST, and happy to celebrate their 20th Anniversary by supporting their action.

BIO: A French contemporary artist now living in Carlsbad, CA, Virginie beckons you back to the magical illustrations of childhood books, imbuing impressions with her joyful fusion of color and light. Celebrating what is positive is a testament to her belief that children are the representatives of hope, those who will make the world of tomorrow.

 

Zemina Zaferakis

ARTIST STATEMENT: I am very passionate about creating and sharing all the beauty I see through my lens. WILDCOAST stands behind so much of what I believe in—conserving our beautiful coastlines, helping our marine life, and working out solutions for our climate crisis.

BIO: Born and raised in San Diego, Zemina is a self-taught photographer who owns Z Bella Photography Inc.  Much of her work features slow shutter speeds so the photography has the feel of a painting. Her work includes drone/aerial photography and video, underwater photography, portraits, content for brands, commercial work and beach/lifestyle work.