I love how surfing and diving inspire people to see the world, and that is exactly what my friend, Shea Miller wanted to do with his time since he was so young. It is really incredible to hear about his life experiences in and on the water and how it has shaped who he is today...
Tell me a little bit about yourself
Shea Miller- born and raised in the tropical climate of Southern Florida. I have lived here my whole life aside from a year in Kauai, HI and a few months in Peru and Costa Rica. I have travelled all over the world surfing. Surfing gives me an excuse to see all of these amazing places and to dive! I work as a Real Estate Agent and a Fire Rescue Lieutenant for Boca Raton. My childhood was and always has been in the water. My father Jim and mother Janis have been freediving and lobstering since they were kids so it was a natural progression. We have been going to Marathon area in the Keys lobstering since before I was born and have continued going ever since. I used to go every summer with the Sharpes to Walkers Cay in the Bahamas up until I was 15. Now, I find myself in the Exumas most times.
What are some of your best memories in the water?
I have so many fond memories of any time actually spent in the water, but I would have to say that spearfishing and lobstering with my family is my favorite. I can't just pick one story because being in the water with them means the world to me. Even with my father yelling at me from the boat or my mother yelling at us because we've been trying for the last 2 lobsters to limit out for the 6th day in a row and it's dark out. Yelling is a common theme.
Why did you want to commission this specific piece?
I chose the Bahamas chart because the Bahamas hold a special place in my heart. From the earlier days in Walker's to the Exumas trips, they are all great experiences. I let Carly really let loose on the canvas. She has an incredible imagination and I wanted to see what she would come up with and it's better than anything I imagined!
Thanks so much, Shea! I am so glad to hear that you are satisfied with your painting and hope that it continues to remind you of your favoripassions in life!
It is with great pleasure that I introduce the next commission story of the series. The world traveler, adventurer, all around great person, and my dear friend, Bobbie Vinson:
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I have a gypsy soul thanks to being an Army brat and my Father taking us all over the place. I joined the Army in 2001, with the 82nd Airborne Division where I earned my jump wings and completed 25 static line jumps. I have lived and traveled all over the world but my favorite place so far was Okinawa, Japan where my love for SCUBA diving and the ocean began. I started SCUBA diving in 2005 and became a Dive Master there working for the Kadena Air Force base marina. Ever since then I have tried to SCUBA dive every place I traveled, to include; Thailand, New Zealand, Philippines, Guam, Bora Bora, Mexico, Greece, Florida Keys, and of course Japan.
My hobbies are SCUBA diving, spear fishing, photography, shooting guns, climbing, hiking, running, and knitting. I also tend to get a tattoo at places I travel to, but not all. Usually only those places in which I had a very memorable experiece. Thailand I have been to twice and love the diving and culture. I got a tattoo of a symbol that in buddism means eternal good luck and friendship on my ankle. In Peru when I climbed Machu Pichu I got a puma's face in a Peruvian design on my hip. In their culture there are three Gods; condor representing Heaven, puma representing Earth, and the snake representing the Underworld. I am not a religious person, but a spirital one. For now I thought the puma would bring me good luck as I'm still here breathing on Earth . In New Zealand not only did I go diving but I also bungee jumped, went spalunking, jumped off the Sky Tower, and went zorbing. So I thought it fit to get a spirit protector on my left wrist which looks like part bird and part fish in a Moari design. For Japan I have a couple tattoos representing the 3 years I spent there; hibiscus flowers on my right wrist which cover the island, and 2 koi fish surrounding two kanji symbols meaning beautiful strength on the back of my neck. I have been in and out of Iraq since 2008 and with this type of job (Security/Air Operations) you tend to lose friends in the worst ways. I was tattooed by my very good friend Jay Wuneburger here in Iraq to represent our friend Joshua Hernandez aka "Pedro" who died here and whom I was very close to. The tattoo is a picture of a skull candy design Pedro got from Jay before he died. It's on the right side of my rib cage.
While in Bora Bora with my new Fiance, Stephen, we both were tattooed with ocean inspired designs n the locals style. He got inked with a shark which was fitting for him as Bora Bora was the place he was SCUBA certified and on his 2nd dive ever we did a shark dive. He was calm, cool, and collected, and I was so proud. I was inked with a manta ray in the local style, there are tiki faces in the wings of the ray, I love it. And last but not least the majority of the tattoos I have from the U.S. are from the Florida Keys. While in Key Largo I was inked with a compass/clinometer on my left shoulder which represents all the traveling/ mountain climbing I have done so far in my life. And there is a magnolia flower which is representative of the magnolia trees that are in Washington D.C. below the compass. Lol, so to make a long story short all my tattoos tell a story of where I have been and what I like to do.
Why did commission these specific pieces?
I was on facebook one day and saw that my friend Laura Pettry "liked" a photo of a manta ray that Carly had painted on a map. I loved it and had to have a piece of her artwork, but when it comes to arkwork, I like it to have a personal meaning. It's a lot like my tattoos; it's artwork that tells a story. Carly has helped my Fiance and I tell our stories with her beatiful work she has done for us since we have met. During our trip to Bora Bora, and Stephen's first SCUBA diving experience, we found a huge map of Bora Bora at a local shop. I sent it to Carly and she brought it to life with the lemon shark and the diver. The second commission we worked on together was our Florida Keys map with a turtle and Stephen's favorite stripped Angel fish, to remember our trip to Key Largo together. Her third commission with me was the striped sea horse which was done on a map I had made on water color paper. Carly loved being able to work on a water color map, it was like watching a little kids face light up when she talked about painting on it. This one was to bring back memories of my amazing dive trip in Phuket, Thailand where I spent 3 days diving around the islands to inlcude Phi Phi Island where Leonardo DiCaprio made the movie "The Island". Our next commission with Carly will be of Cape Cod where my Fiance proposed to me out by the Highland Lighthouse in Truro where his great, great Grandfather use to work. She is going to put the lighhouse along with the sunfish sailboat I sailed on with his Uncle. I am also looking forward to the spotted eagle ray she will bring to life on the Antigua map I will find for her during our wedding in Nov. of this year.
Do you have anything you'd like to share about the commission experience?
Carly I am so thankful to have met you, not only because of the ridiculous talent you have which has brought to life memories in our lives that we will now be able to proudly display on our walls in our new home, but because you have become a very dear friend to me. The beauty in your work not only displays your amazing artistic ability but the kindness and sincerity in your soul. Not only do you use your artwork to create a life for yourself and your husband but you use it to help benefit the local community and programs that support taking better care of the environment and ocean. You practice what you preach and you mean it. Anyone should be so lucky to know you, befriend you, and especially get to work with you to create the lifetime pieces of artwork you create. Thank you Carly from the bottom of my heart for all the time you have taken in working with me. Sincerely - Bobbie
Thank you so much, Bobbie, the feelings are mutual! I really enjoyed working with you and love that the art has helped us get to know each other in such a unique way. Thanks so much for sharing your story.
Carly Mejeur is a floridian artist, inspired by her ocean hobbies and travels. This Blog is for news, events, and just for fun. Click here for the artist's Bio.