Our newest Affiliated Artist is Skylaar Amann, who calls Oregon home and uses the rugged Pacific Coastline as inspiration for her science and kid-lit illustrations. Read the Q&A below to get to know the newest artist in the Alliance family!
Climate Science Alliance (Alliance): How would you describe your art?
Skylaar: I make ocean and nature illustrations for kids and adults. A lot of my work can be categorized as “sciart,” which means art inspired or influenced by science in some way and used to easily communicate scientific ideas. This can mean encouraging a sense of wonder in a child through a richly illustrated nature illustration or a simple, cartoony drawing of a whale with some quick facts that anyone can understand.
Alliance: A lot of your work focuses on the ocean and coasts — what is your relationship with the marine environment?
Skylaar: I grew up on the Oregon Coast, with the incredible biodiversity of the Pacific Ocean and its coastline basically in my backyard. The ocean is an integral part of coastal communities, from scientific research to the fishing industry to recreation to everyday habits. As a kid, I spent a lot of time wandering through dense coastal forests and along the edges of diverse tide pools, and it gave me a strong sense of respect for the delicate balance of nature. There was never a time the ocean hasn’t been on my mind, so it has naturally influence everything from my art to my consumer choices. I still remember the first time I saw thePacific Ocean at five years old. I was awestruck, and that experience began my lifelong love affair with the sea, and especially the coastlines and rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. There’s something intangibly sublime about the ocean that has a hold on me. I think John Steinbeck said it best in The Log of the Sea of Cortez: “[T]he impulse which drives a man to poetry will send another man into the tide pools and force him to report what he finds there.” It’s just what I have to do!
Alliance: When/why did you begin using art to communicate?
Skylaar: I have been drawing and writing since I was a little kid. I went to an elementary school where most projects had an art element, from celebrating Earth Day to hatching baby chickens to growing plants to learning to conserve energy. So really, art has always been one of the main ways I’ve communicated, and I never stopped!
Alliance: What role does climate change play in your life and your art? What was your "climate moment" - the moment that made you want to do something about climate change?
Skylaar: Climate change plays a huge role in my life, and in everyone’s. From changing seasonal patterns and temperatures to dwindling resources around the globe, we’re all impacted. I was in fourth grade the first time I really felt sad about the environment. We were doing a project on what the earth would be like some years into the future, and all the kids were drawing pictures of cities with no green spaces and polluted air and too many cars. I remember feeling really hopeless in that moment, and I never forgot it.
Alliance: What advice would you give to a Climate Kid?
Skylaar: Always remember that you have a voice. I recently noticed one of my local grocery stores was using plastic clamshell containers at the salad bar. After I (and probably other customers) provided feedback, they switched to uncoated paper boxes! Change is possible. Start small by learning about and only eating sustainable fish (check out Seafood Watch), saying no to straws, and using less water. You never know who will follow your lead!
Alliance: What "climate commitment" are you focusing on at the moment?
Skylaar: I’m working on eating more veggies and wasting less food in my fridge. And I’m continuing my quest to use less single-use plastics.
Alliance: Anything else you would like our partners to know about you?
Skylaar: I am working on some writing project for kids and adults that incorporate environmental issues. When I get the time, I’d also like to start either a Patreon or newsletter/community to share art and ocean news in an easy-to-digest format. And I’m planning to develop some classes in the future about ocean illustration and communications. I’m definitely still in the early planning stages, so if you’d be interested in learning about either of these topics, let me know!
We are looking forward to displaying a new piece from Skylaar in upcoming "Art of Change" shows. Stay tuned!
Learn more about our Affiliated Artists here.