Hello reader. My name is Skyler Hayman, but everyone calls me Sky. I identify as a non-binary queer human being who was born and raised in Miami, FL and birthed from two immigrant parents who are originally from Nicaragua. All pronouns are welcomed and so are your comments. I am a junior at Florida International University double majoring in International Business and Marketing. Art has always and will always hold a special spot in my heart as it is a way to connect with other human beings through time and space. In the future, I hope to become a product/project manager, but my goal in life is to gain as many memories and experiences as I can.
An artist by the name of Lauren Shapiro who collaborated with a marine ecologist by the name of Dr. Nyssa Silbiger. Shapiro decided to host her project at the Bakehouse Art Complex (BAC). BAC is an “art deco bakery housing local contemporary artists, with studios & galleries open to the public.” Among these will be an art project called “Future Pacific” by Shapiro. She wanted to raise awareness to the dying coral reef systems. Because the project was so massive Lauren opened up her project to have the help of the local community while teaching them about the importance of coral reefs and how they are impacted by human activity.
My major is International Business and Marketing which at first thought does not have any connection with art, especially to a project like this one. However, I need to pay attention to the world and where we are and what is/should be the concern of the market. At a reach, this can pertain to my major, and I was told about this opportunity by my professor John W. Bailly which gave me an unforgettable experience.
Connecting with this experience, in all honesty, took some time. As previously mentioned, my major is somehow connected to this within a long reach, but I had yet to connect my words to my actions. It was while actually molding the clay and adding clay when I was able to submerge myself in this world and have an even wider perspective of seeing the world. Using color, my hands, and a certain reign of creative freedom was such an honor and knowing that the work I was doing was going to be showcased in an art gallery was such a humbling moment.
WHERE & WHAT
Entering the gate, there was designated space under a tent where Lauren Shapiro awaited her community helpers. There were many tables set up under tents where we would sit and work. It all began with picking a rubber mold. There was a variety to choose from with different designs and shapes and sizes. Choose one and then spray the inside with some non stick butter that way the clay could come out easier. Grab enough clay to fill the mold and pick a color, or no color was also an option. This was the moment for creativity since we decided what mold and what color(s). After placing the powder colors how/where I wanted, it was time to press it into the mold and press hard enough to get every nook and cranny in there. Let it sit for a second and then it’s time to peel it out of the mold. Once you have you piece, it is then placed inside a container that has sand at the bottom so that the clay wouldn’t lose its moisture before heading inside to attach it to the actual wooden piece it was going to be stuck to. This first part of the process was repeated until the containers were full.
As photographed, here was the giant wooden piece that was covered in barbed wire so that when putting the first layer of clay, the clay had something to stick to. Lauren then explained to us how the attachment of the clay molds were going to be installed onto the wooden piece. We had to score the back of the mold and the spot where we wanted it. The scoring is compared to as scratching the game of tic tac toe on the mold. Also photographed was the bucket of watered-down clay paste that was used as a glue to put the mold on the big piece of wood. Once that was slapped on there, we had massage in the piece so it looked a little more natural. This whole process was repeated until the containers filled with the molds were empty.
Coral reefs are one of the most essential ecosystems of the sea. Coral reefs are the rainforests of the sea in which they provide a home to many species and are also protectors. Lauren Shapiro wanted to tell the community something scary and sad, but had to do it in a way that won’t make people want to ignore the issue while also providing something pretty to look at.
While at the Bakehouse Art Complex, Lauren explained how through art we could tell a story that was going to bring attention to an issue that needed raised awareness about. Coral reef molds, clay, and a lot of teamwork is telling a scary story about how our coral reefs are depleting and it’s our fault, but there are way we can help.
Being able to be part of Lauren Shapiro’s collaboration with Dr. Nyssa Silbiger, was an honor and great opportunity. This is just one of many examples of how science can communicate through art. This time it’s an exhibit about a lost city found underwater using clay, but next time it could be a movie or a painting. This project does not only show how science and art can be intertwined, but how any subjects can come together and still relay a message.
“About Us.” BAC, http://www.bacfl.org/about-us.
“Future Pacific.” Lauren Shapiro, laurenshapiroart.com/future-pacific.