Ghosts in the Forest


Santa Cruz, USA – September 2021


Finding This Mural

3651 Soquel Dr, Soquel, CA 95073, USA

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Story Behind This Mural

Artist Statement

"Ghosts in the Forest is in reference to the massive amount of Ghost Gear abandoned in the ocean and kelp deforestation by commercial fishing. Fishing nets make up about 10% of the overall plastic pollution in the ocean and about 46 percent of the floating plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Bottom Trawling devastates ecosystems by scraping the ocean floor with giant nets. Not only do these kill dolphins, sea turtles, protected fish, and many other species but it also has a similar effect on the environment as clear-cutting a forest on land. Estimates suggest that seaweeds take nearly 200 million tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere every year. In this painting, there are shreds of kelp floating away while loose fishing nets dance and tangle around like ghosts haunting what was once a place full of life. I chose to use the word “forest” instead of “kelp forest” because they are both equally important to sustaining life on earth. The two characters are a nod to Neptune (the Roman god of freshwater) and Poseidon (the Greek god of the Ocean). They intertwine and merge expressing our interconnectedness and dependence upon water both land and sea. The two also represent our ability to personify the ocean and adapt our narrative over time to create compassion for the part of our world that often feels alien to us. The two gods struggle as they fight with the nets. Who will win? The expression of life or the web of plastic death? It’s up to you."

The Focus

Plastic pollution and overfishing