Perhaps you've seen one of the marine life murals painted by environmentally-minded artist Wyland? Beautiful, inspiring, life-size images of whales swimming gracefully in their natural ocean habitats have graced the sides of buildings around the world and became a symbol for marine conservation efforts worldwide. Since the 1980's, when he first began painting murals, Wyland has used his marine-themed works of art to inspire, teach and promote the future health of our planet.
Today, Wyland is more than just an artist. Through creating art, painting murals, hosting television programs and traveling the world on conservation-themed missions, Wyland has created a lasting legacy of knowledge and hope for future generations. He also created a non-profit organization, the Wyland Foundation, aimed at promoting environmental outreach. His messages of environmental awareness and stewardship are conveyed visually, creating an impact on each and every person who gazes in wonder at the colorful, detailed images of an underwater world that is beautiful, majestic and ultimately, in crisis. If every one of the more than one billion people estimated to have viewed Wyland's murals yearly make even one small change, one contribution or one step towards more environmental awareness, it might create a whale-sized global impact!
What started out as mural painting on the side of public buildings has grown into a worldwide brand that has collaborated with some of the world's leading companies and environmental organizations. In addition to bringing his message to the Discovery Channel and public television, Wyland fostered alliances with the U.S. Olympic Team, the United Nation Environment Program and Disney. Wyland has also been the recipient of awards and recognition from the National Park Service, the Smithsonian, and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Six of Wyland's images were even featured on internationally issued stamps in 2010 for the 50th anniversary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
An artist with this amount of recognition and acclaim can choose to work with anyone in the world. So who does Wyland choose to collaborate with most often? Children. That's right, one of Wyland's main priorities is bringing his message of preservation of not just oceans, but also rivers, lakes, streams and all water systems, to millions of students around the world. Wyland seeks to actively engage our future generations through education and active, hands-on experiences such as the 24,000-square-foot canvas murals completed in 2008 with the help of student artists from 110 countries. A main focus of the Wyland Foundation is to bring the message of conservation to our youngest citizens, creating a lifelong appreciation for how one person can make a valuable contribution to a global issue.
In order to stay true to the message they are conveying, both Wyland Worldwide and the Wyland Foundation work continually to operate in a sustainable way. The efforts made by these organizations include recycling, using responsibly printed material, reusing packing material and only packing with soy-based packing popcorn, only using "green" paint when working with children, and making an effort to reduce e-waste from old electronics that can release toxic waste into the environment. Wyland even uses sustainably harvested wood to frame his artwork, and has partnered with Martin/F. Weber to develop water miscible oil paints.
Art has the ability to impact people, touch lives and provide inspiration. The art of Wyland does all this easily, but it does more, too. In providing a visual representation of the creatures in our world's waters, and then transforming those images into a global movement, Wyland has created art with a clear message: it is up to all of us to celebrate and protect our bright, beautiful planet.