It has been a while since I posted a commission story for the series, but I am so happy to share the background for this big, beautiful piece of three of the coolest creatures on the island of Oahu! Michael Frey and I met at Garlic Fest last year, and he and his wife talked about their personal travels and what brought them to South Florida. They also purchased the original Cali Sea Lion and Cali Shark because those pieces were relevant to their life adventures. It was definitely a pleasure to paint this giant piece for Michael and his family so that he could share that part of his life with his children and generations to come!
Tell me a little bit about yourself? I was born in Allentown, PA. Like many other families in that area I spent my first years of life during summers adventuring over to the New Jersey “Shore”. My dad would rent a house with his brothers and cousins. We did all the typical summer shore actives, clamming, crabbing, fishing, and days at the beach chasing sand crabs.
Later in life my friend suggested we head down to the Florida Keys for one of our school breaks. I saw the most amazing sea life on our dives and that is when I decided I wanted to be a Marine Biologist.
What are some of your best memories in the water? My best memories of the ocean are when I was working at a year round youth camp for Marine Biology in San Diego. We would take weekly trips out to the Coronado Island to dive. My favorite part was interacting with the Sea Lions because they were very playful. Similar to playing with a pet dog.
There was also one time a few of us were out where we jumped in to snorkel with a Blue whale mother and her calf. It was a bit frightening to be so close to such a enormous creature and there was a definite respect for our worlds biggest animal.
Another time we took a zodiac out when there were swarms of Jumbo Squid off the SD coast. I jumped in the water grabbing these 4-5 foot creatures from the deep. The ocean world is almost like another planet when you live in the city everyday. This trip reminded me you don’t have to go to Mars to see aliens.
Why did you want to commission this specific piece? The piece I commissioned was of a map of Oahu. I lived on the island while getting my Marine Biology degree. I wanted to share a piece that brought back memories for me and to help me share those memories with my two children. I really like what Carly does and feel that any way we can make people more aware that our oceans are an important part of our planet and that we all need to play an active role in helping keep them in balance is awesome.
Thanks so much for sharing with us, Michael! I hope you and your family enjoy it!
Garlic Fest is fast approaching again this year and I hope to see you all there, or at the Hobe Sound Festival for the Arts this coming weekend!
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.