Mystic, Conn. (February 20, 2019): A powerful new art exhibit entitled Inspiration for Change brings attention to the negative implications of human impacts on the natural environment with paintings that are genuine, vibrant and poignant.
Each summer, Mystic Aquarium hosts an “Artist in Residence” associated with the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to shadow various Aquarium teams in search of a story to tell through art. This year, the Aquarium welcomed Sophy Tuttle, a visual artist born in Colchester, England, who currently resides in Medford, Massachusetts. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from RISD, Tuttle is currently working on a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Art from the University of Hartford Art School.
“As an artist, I am inspired by the natural world,” said Tuttle. “With my work, I ask people to consider the other creatures on our planet.”
Drawing most of her inspiration from the conservation messaging shared by the Aquarium’s animal care teams and even some from guest conversations overheard during her two-week residency, Tuttle created three magnificent paintings. Each painting focuses on one of Mystic Aquarium’s most interesting animals of concern; like the beluga whale and the critically endangered Panamanian golden frog and axolotl.
Each full-color painting shows the animal in its Aquarium habitat with nods to its natural origins. Upon further examination, viewers are introduced to common environmental concerns threatening each of the highlighted species: plastic pollutants, chemical discharge and others.
“When I feel overwhelmed by the complex issues that we face today, I like to take a moment to think back to the feelings of deep connection I experienced during my two weeks [at the Aquarium],” explains Tuttle. “It’s my hope that by supporting places like Mystic Aquarium, more and more people can have the same kind of magical and profound experience that will stick with them and give them a reason to keep caring about the animals.”
Her répertoire of art installations – featuring indoor and outdoor murals from Massachusetts to Mexico – depict many of the same environmental themes as her studio work. These murals are a way to begin conversations within the community about environmental issues. The impressive size of her art at the Aquarium, along with its artfully-integrated conservation messaging, seeks to inspire guests to take action.
“My hope is to get people to reimagine their position in the world, from the top of a hierarchical pyramid to just one of the nodes in the web of life that connects every living thing,” continued Tuttle. “I do this by painting the things, places and creatures that inspire awe in me with the hope that my paintings will rekindle curiosity and respect for the natural world in others.”
The Inspiration for Change art installation will be on view in the Aquarium’s mezzanine now through Fall 2019 and is open to all Aquarium guests.
Adam Cilley | March 10th, 2019
Adam Cilley | March 8th, 2019