About Me

I’m a California-based voice & visual artist. I immerse myself in creative adventure by exploring multiple genres, styles, and forms in my writing and art. I also make short films. ❤️robots.

Sharks Aren't Real

Update: Listen to the Meraki Radio conversation on KDRT 95.7FM about this project.

After four years of gathering photographs and writing hybrid poems, I've completed my 125-page ecopoetry manuscript. (Celebration dance!) The project began while being displaced during seasonal pollen, wildfires, and other things. We create based on what we have. So, I started by witnessing the minutia of coastal California environments.

Initially, I called this project "Death Patrol" because expired life was the obvious and shocking coastal evidence I noticed. Often discarded plastics are the next most conspicuous declaration after hides, and bones, and shells. Then I thought about the intertidal zone as a boundary—but no, the opposite was going on. Sand and seawater meet as places of occurrence—showing we are one global ecosystem. Coastlines indicate connections.

Humans aren't always destructive. There are innate needs to express that "we were here." These marks of existence show up as artistic expressions through stacked rocks, sand sculptures, and driftwood forts. Arrangements left on the beach, not carted off.

Strange juxtapositions in the sand are positioned naturally by the tides, too. It doesn't require the hand of man to create art. No matter what humans created, these sculptures were rearranged, softened, or gulped by the sea. Plastics, wrappers, and sea creatures morph into an uncomfortable levity. As humans, we crave humor, particularly when heavy topics like environmental degradation overwhelm.

"Sharks aren't real." I happened across this sticker placed above "recurring" on a sign. Pretty funny, as well as being a vulnerable statement. Of course, sharks are real. We tell ourselves falsities to better deal with what's hidden from the surface—those dark shadows too primal to grasp. If we can't see it, maybe it doesn't exist. Sharks are real, and so is global warming.

Sharks move through the water doing their job as part of the global ecosystem. I witnessed a giant Great White and the barnacled snout of a whale shockingly near the shore—only several car lengths away. There were many smaller fins, maybe a type of whale or dolphin. The massive shark broke the surface many times, the giant dorsal fin and slick body arcing over the whale. Triangles became one of the guiding shapes of my project.

For twenty-five minutes, I watched this dance without any evidence of blood in the water. A park ranger explained when schools of small fish are near the shore the predators follow. My ocean encounter felt magical like the sea had lifted its lid and shown what exists under that aquatic boundary.

Whales and sharks are not evil in their pursuits of consuming the small and the large. Homo sapiens, as thinking beings, have the capacity for accountability and will be held accountable for their actions. Political manipulations might push paying the ecological check down the road a bit. Those who come after us will deal with this trail of destruction. By noticing and witnessing the small clues deposited or exposed along the tidal "boundary," we awaken. We become complicit if we make no adjustments.

It's a choice. We are part of a chain of events pointing the way forward for the next wave of humans. Humankind's heavy footprints do indent the natural world. Ecosystems can only speak for themselves by clues rising up from below the surface. Fins are more than warning signs.

I've posted some outtakes on Instagram.

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