by Josh Kenyon
Over the past decade, when I’ve sat down to draw or to pull inspiration for design or even to explore my love for food, I have been continuously led back to the ocean. Growing up in Southern California, I quickly fell in love with the ocean and all of the wonders it provides. I have yet to find another subject that I connect with in such a deep way.
It all started when I was playing around with a parallel calligraphy pen and discovered a simple and beautiful way to abstractly draw coral. Since then, I haven’t been able to stop drawing them. From the parallel pen I scaled up and started working with acrylic pens on canvas. In my process of creating Shapey Seas, the drawings are not planned or sketched before I start on them. I turn on some music, stare at the canvas, see the gestures I want to make, and just allow my hand to lead the piece.
This body of work represents trying to find hope in a grim future of the Earth’s dying coral reefs. After I began researching, I learned that the effects of climate change continue to threaten ocean life. I realized I was making these pieces because of a fascination with these creatures also a sadness that they will soon cease to exist. Shapey Seas was a way for me to dive deep and obsess over one subject matter. It was a way for me to feel like I could make something that could inspire others to do something for our planet without becoming a scientist. My goal for this body of work was not to make money. I wanted make something that would allow me to connect with coral and give back to the ocean.
I have decided to donate the proceeds of my show to The Coral Reef Alliance. Their research, restoration, and development with local communities to find a long-term solution for the coral reefs is inspiring and hopeful. I encourage all who view this work to research, donate, and find a way to give back to our planet.