Art with an Ocean View

Contemporary artists visualize our oceans in peril

By Art Works for Change

Mobro: High Seas Drifter (2015) by Scott GreeneArt Works for Change

We must protect our oceans

The world's oceans are home to many of the Earth's creatures and are a critical source of food for humanity. The health of our oceans has been adversely affected by plastic pollution, noise pollution, overfishing, climate change, and other human impacts. In this exhibit by Art Works for Change, ten contemporary artists consider the impact of humanity on our oceans and the critical importance of conservation efforts.

Whale (2011) by Chris JordanArt Works for Change

Chris Jordan constructed this digital image of a blue whale from images of 50,000 plastic bags, equal to the estimated number of pieces of floating plastic in every square mile in the world’s oceans.

As plastic gets churned by ocean currents, it breaks down into smaller particles. These particles are ingested by fish and cetaceans, introducing toxins into the marine food chain.

Welcome Home (2011) by Wendell GladstoneArt Works for Change

Wendell Gladstone portrays sad-sack characters adorned with beach trash. Trash is a ubiquitous feature of marine landscapes and a sad reminder of our increasingly-strained relationship with nature.

CF000313: Unaltered stomach contents of a Laysan albatross fledgling, Midway Island, 2009 (2009) by Chris JordanArt Works for Change

In this photograph of an albatross fledgling, Chris Jordan captures the tragedy of plastic pollution in our oceans. Marine animals often mistake plastic debris for food, leading to deadly consequences.

Oil Spill #12 (2010) by Daniel BeltráArt Works for Change

In this aerial image, Daniel Beltrá captures the aftermath of the BP Horizon oil spill. Oil spills are an inherent risk of oil exploration, and such risks are magnified when humans pursue natural resources in remote regions.

Evanescent Encounter (2010) by Jave YoshimotoArt Works for Change

Oil spills have a devastating impact on life within coastal and marine ecosystems. In this painting, Jave Yoshimoto portrays the adverse effect of spills on wildlife and coastal communities.

Fighting Over the Last Piece of Sushi (2015) by Al GrumetArt Works for Change

In this work, Al Grumet references the overfishing of tuna in our oceans, which has decimated populations and put several species at risk of extinction. Overfishing in our oceans is an urgent problem that threatens our food supply.

Inflatable Home (2008) by Mary MattinglyArt Works for Change

Conservation efforts can make our oceans as rich, healthy, and abundant as they once were.

Through scientific fishery management and pollution control, we can restore the biodiversity and abundance of our oceans. 

Hiyuxa, Owner of fishes, Wiwa culture, Colombia (2004) by Antonio BriceñoArt Works for Change

Antonio Briceño depicts indigenous peoples of the Americas in images that celebrate their spiritual relationship to nature. His subjects regard themselves as humble guardians of the natural world, responsible for its stewardship and protective of its gifts.

Iceberg XVIII (Greenland) (2010) by Sebastian CopelandArt Works for Change

Sebastian Copeland captures the pristine beauty of the polar regions. His work urges us to protect these vulnerable marine environments, which are threatened by climate change and natural resource exploitation.

Oil Spill #20 (2010) by Daniel BeltráArt Works for Change

You can take action to restore our oceans. Join our partner organizations, Oceana and NRDC, in their fight to protect ocean environments from pollution and exploitation. Get inspired to defend the natural world by viewing more artwork from our exhibition entitled "Footing the Bill: Art and Our Ecological Footprint".

Credits: Story

This exhibit is a selection of works from "Footing the Bill: Art and Our Ecological Footprint", an online exhibition created by Art Works for Change in partnership with Oceana, NRDC, Earth Day Network, Global Footprint Network, and other leading environmental organizations. For more information, please contact us at or visit us at

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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