Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans returned to Boston for the second year July 19-25, 2021. Our team of local, regional, and national artists gathered in East Boston for ten days to create a powerful new collection of landmark artworks that now serve as educational tools and conversation-starters, addressing marine environmental issues relevant and of local importance, such as the climate crisis, pollution, and environmental justice.
Presented by local public ARTivism initiative HarborArts, we united during incredibly challenging times to paint for a purpose helping to give underrepresented coastal communities in East Boston and beyond a creative voice. Through the project, we aim to ignite ownership for the sustainability of natural resources and to build community around the common cause of protecting the region’s ocean and coast for future generations.
Our collaborative effort joined forces with the New England Aquarium, a global leader in marine research and education, as the Honorary Conservation Partner for Sea Walls Boston 2021. With the help of the Aquarium, we amplified the critical environmental messages depicted in the new murals and will make waves internationally for ocean conservation awareness.
Special thanks go out to Linda Cabot and Ed Anderson for their instrumental role in realizing this project. The oceans are the life support system of the planet and together, we paint for a purpose to help protect what we love.
Sea Walls Boston X Eastie Week 2021 Event Schedule
In partnership with Boston Harbor Now
In addition to the murals, Sea Walls Boston partnered with Boston Harbor Now and Eastie Week to include a series of activities and programming for the community to get involved.
painted for a purpose, shining a light on local marine environmental issues through ARTivism.
served through local partnerships and educational programming, inviting young people within the community to get involved in proactively advocating for our ocean environment.
unifying and inspiring Boston's residents and visitors to stand up for New England's coastal resources.
More about the project
Boston is a city on the frontlines of climate change, and East Boston is an environmental and climate justice community that is disproportionately affected by the consequences of pollution & sea level rise.
In 2020, we successfully launched a pilot of Sea Walls Boston with 7 murals and a host of virtual programming that uplifted and inspired a hard-hit community in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic. We discovered that now more than ever, public art has a chance to uplift our community, bring people together, and give us hope — for our people, our harbor, and the planet. In July 2021, we completed the first full-scale Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans mural project to take place in the Northeast region of the United States: Boston, Massachusetts.
Why East Boston?
Once a chain of islands and marshland, East Boston is one of Boston’s most vulnerable communities to the impacts of flooding, increased heat, and coastal and industrial overdevelopment. With Eastie’s vibrant tapestry of cultures, history, and environmental richness, it was determined by a group of dedicated residents that it would be an ideal host location for a Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans project.
Our intersectional approach
Leveraging the local community and partnerships, we harnessed the universal language of public art to communicate locally relevant marine environmental issues and encourage positive action for our ocean. Through multilingual signage, outreach, and community engagement, we made an intentional effort to diversify the conversation concerning class, race, and age because we wholeheartedly believe that the environmental movement must be diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just. East Boston residents are majority-working-class and majority-immigrant with a significant number of non-English speakers. When climate change adds to the current woes of displacement, the most vulnerable have the least options to deal with the consequences of such complications on their lives.
In collaboration with our partners at Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs, we are developing programs with Boston Public Schools like the Donald McKay School in East Boston to include youth in the conversation to protect our blue planet. Through hands-on VTS activities, the murals will continue to inspire a new wave of ocean stewards for generations to come. With the support of Bow Seat and local climate action initiative Eastie Farm, Sea Walls Boston will reach children of all ages throughout the neighborhood.
Dragon76 is a Japanese street artist who lives in New York, United States. Technique: Dragon76 creates spectacular murals with its unique style full of vitality and passion. His work touches the soul, reflecting on “the coexistence” of opposites such as past and future, stillness and motion, evil and justice.
"Shepard Fairey is an American contemporary street artist, graphic designer, activist, illustrator, and founder of OBEY Clothing who emerged from the skateboarding scene. He first became known for his 'Andre the Giant Has a Posse' (...OBEY...) sticker campaign while attending the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
He became widely known during the 2008 U.S. presidential election for his Barack Obama 'Hope' poster. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston has described him as one of the best known and most influential street artists. His work is included in the collections at The Smithsonian, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Fairey is known for his 'bold iconic style that is based on styling and idealizing images.'"
"Kai’ili Kaulukukui was born on the Big Island of Hawaii, and inspired by Hawaii’s natural beauty, abundant ocean life, and rich native culture, began drawing at an early age. He was a BFA candidate at the University of Hawaii Windward campus where he studied under Snowden Hodges who has a deep base in classical techniques of oil painting. Simultaneously, he was trained in oil by apprenticing with Dennis Morton. Later, he transferred to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Kai currently works as a painter and muralist in Honolulu, out of Lana Lane Studios in Kaka’ako and more recently has been acting as the Ground Operations Manager for PangeaSeed Foundation's Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans program.
He has been immersed in shark culture, imagery and information that has sparked his imagination. Based on his research, lately Kai’s works illustrate compromised sharks and aquatic environments. His paintings and murals tackle marine life, often sharks with a loose and flowing approach complimented with drips cascading down the work."
Taylor Reinhold was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California. In 2009, Tay founded Made Fresh Crew, a collective of artisans ranging in talents from pottery, glass blowing, videography, painting and jewelry making. Since then he has worked to promote creativity amongst the youth through artistic community outreach projects. He has organized and led workshops in multiple non-profit organizations including Youth Now, Mariposa Arts, and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.
Tay has become a major part of the PangeaSeed family, not only as an artist but as an integral part of planning and production for Sea Walls festivals far and wide. Tay has planned and implemented Sea Walls Santa Cruz as the project director, supported ground operations at epic proportions during Sea Walls Boston and Sea Walls Bimini, and painted massive murals as a Sea Walls ARTivist, all while keeping the morale high of the artists and crew. Tay Lion is a legend.
Victor "Marka27" Quiñonez is an international street artist who works at the intersection of contemporary art, graffiti, vinyl toys, fashion and design. With paintings, murals, drawings, mix-media pieces and private commissions for major brands, his robust palette blends elements of street and pop culture with Mexican and indigenous aesthetics—a signature look the artist has coined “Neo Indigenous.” Marka27’s work has become part of graffiti and street art history, but he has flourished as a product designer, gallery artist, toy designer and more. Marka27 has emerged as one of the most sought after muralists in the world, mastering his craft since before “street art” was even a term. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY where he and his wife and creative partner, Liza, run their award-winning creative agency, “Street Theory Gallery”.
I'm known as an artist with a rich history in graffiti, street culture, design and activism through art. I believe that design is a creative expression wholly powerful, impactful, and progressive if guided by genuine purpose. The "purpose" is what's most important and that's to engage with an audience in order to achieve a dialogue. With today's climate it's important to control our narratives as BIPOC by empowering each other through our respective creative process. My approach for design -- whether product or graphic driven-- is similar to my process creating art. Both start with passion, discovery, and building a narrative. My passion comes from the streets, not merely studying it but living it as well. It's a way of life. Creating street murals, paintings, and product reflects my purpose for engaging an audience in a dialogue on cultural authenticity and awareness driven by self-expression.
Growing up in the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago, to be exact, was one of the main factors that have molded Nneka Jones into the artist she is today. Her astounding love for color and special attention to detail, as influenced by her culture, have always been prominent throughout her artistic journey.
In 2020, the 23-year-old artist graduated with a BFA and minor in Marketing from the University of Tampa. Her most recent achievement was a commission from TIME magazine to produce the cover artwork for the August 31st/ September 7th issue 2020. The artist is now speaking at events like Adobe MAX, inspiring others by sharing how she turned her doubts into dreams and made those dreams into reality. She uses her artwork to speak out against social injustices that are overlooked in everyday life.
She quotes, “There is the artwork. The story behind the artwork and the story that the artwork tells.” She believes that her artistic journey has only just begun and is eager to explore her creative purpose in life, to reach her ultimate goal of being an internationally renowned artist.
Felipe Ortiz is a Colombian-American artist based in Boston, MA.
"My paintings and murals are a unique fusion of artistic themes, from representational views of urban scenery to my “Explosive Nature” series. My multicultural upbringing and travels between my native Colombia and United States has helped me gain a wider perspective in my artistic interests. From Colombia’s vibrant culture, colors, sounds and dense natural scenery, to the States’ vast landscape and fast-paced urban environments, there are multiple elements I can pick from each location and merge into the pictorial and self-idealistic vision I'd like to represent."
He is the co-creator of Fresco exchange, a team of muralists, designers, makers, organizers and community engagers who promote and connect artists internationally. Their core mission is to share ideas between creative economies and exchange best practices in the arts. Through the cultural experiences Fresco creates, they encourage artistic leaders across nations to make progress overcoming the challenges to creative success in their communities.
Sabrina E. Dorsainvil is an artist, designer and illustrator currently based on the traditional land of the Massachusett Tribe (aka Boston, MA). She works as the Director of Civic Design for the City of Boston Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics. She is fascinated by people; the way they move, speak, touch, interact and experience environments, objects and each other. She's also inspired by the complex nature of our cities and the wide range social dynamics that exist within them. Sabrina loves to draw and think creatively through sticky everyday issues. People, justice and humanity motivate her. Sabrina's work consists of a range of strategy, service and communication design among other things.
"Lauren YS is a Los Angeles-based artist whose work is influenced by multiple stages of focus, both geographically and in practice. With dynamic bouts in academics, literature and writing, teaching, illustration, and animation leading up to their arrival in the urban art sphere, the influences of these phases of their own career add up to a robust style of murals and fine art.
Lauren's work is influenced by dreams, mythology, death, comics, love, sex, psychedelia, animation and their Asian-American heritage."
"My work is often an attempt to transform sterile scientific facts into a rich visual landscape that can be easily accessed intellectually and emotionally by a wide range of people. In particular, I am drawn to mural work because of the inherently democratic viewership. To experience a public mural, the viewer does not need money, education, status, or access to spaces of privilege such as galleries or museums. When a mural is painted in a public space, through content, form, and sheer size, it has the enormous power to transform that space into a “place.” It can provide the seed for a more active, vibrant, collaborative, and discursive arena, and even set the intention of the actions that occur in that space through its collaborative creation and subject matter.
My work is focused on the natural world, our place in it, and the conflicts and collaborations we find ourselves in everyday with nature. My bright, carefully researched murals often aim to disrupt deeply embedded beliefs about Aristotle’s hierarchy of nature. I render birds, animals, and plants to evoke a sense of awe and reverence for these beings. Although extinction and loss loom in the man-made Anthropocene era, I hope that my paintings call attention to the magnificent beauty that still exists in nature today."
"For Jamaican visual artist Taj Francis, his interest in art came in stages, starting from when he was a young child. He has since cultivated a diversified interest in expression through illustration. The multifaceted Edna Manley College of Visual Arts graduate’s artwork has been featured in several local and international art exhibitions and creates pieces that explore the subtle nuances of human behavior and identity, with a concentration in African ancestry.
Francis enjoys the versatile nature of illustration. His work centers nature, ethereal elements, and technology — informing the visual style of many of his pieces. He believes the juxtaposition of these details act as a vehicle to carry the message of subtle human experiences, in an almost dream-like form. His artistic style was by no means developed in a vacuum. It has been cultivated by constant iteration and inspiration from a variety of people and sources. "
Born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua and raised in Durango, Mexico. Ricardo Gonzalez is a graphic designer focused on lettering, typography, calligraphy & art installations. His passion for letterforms comes from his childhood when looking at old letters written in Spencerian by his grandfather in the 1950’s.
In 2008 Ricardo moved to Canada where he studied graphic design at Mohawk College. After his studies, he worked as a screen printer for two years in Ottawa ON, during this time he rediscovered his passion for calligraphy and began to experiment with letterforms.
In the fall of 2012 he moved to Toronto to work as a freelance graphic designer, but after just four months he headed down south to his hometown of Durango, Mexico, to work full-time as an independent designer. Then, in the summer of 2014, he moved to New York City to attend Type@Cooper where he earned a typeface design diploma from Cooper Union.
Working in a variety of mediums, Stanton’s public work takes the form of large scale murals, mosaics, stained glass, and multimedia animations. Heavily informed by historic ornamentation, mythology, and the classics, his work seeks to draw parallels between past narratives and contemporary human issues such as climate change, environmental conservation, and post-industrialization. The imagery and themes are always site-specific and closely tailored to the locale of the artwork, involving research and scouting of the surrounding area with a goal of creating work that is a direct response to its environment.