Ryan Sobel’s paintings feature the beauty of the marine world, it’s amazing creatures, and the plight of our oceans. Visit his website to see more of his art.
Born and raised in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, the sea was not always the focus of my artwork. As a child, I had always found myself drawn to the natural world. From endless visits to local parks or zoos, each more exciting than the last, arose sketchpads overflowing with drawings of the day’s discoveries. The place I called home, in the landlocked Midwest, was roughly five hundred miles from the nearest ocean; and to me, this watery marine world was more fantasy than reality.
The sea was a beautiful daydream in my mind, revealed through the colorful pages of books, which portrayed brilliant scenes of reefs teeming with life and the mysterious dark, cold, depths, where life seemed more alien than earthly. The more I read, the more my captivation grew. Marine life and ecosystems became the spotlight of my artwork. I drew from photography and film references, and later from real experiences as I traveled the coasts of the United States. I wanted to bring the beauty of this vivid undersea world which I saw in my travels, back to those in the landlocked region I called home.
As my travel map expanded, and I learned the truth about the perils our planet’s oceans face, I became concerned. Due to human interactions, the health of this undersea world, and in turn our world, is in danger.
Ecosystems face collapse, the marine pollution epidemic grows, and day by day we are pushing entire species toward the brink of extinction. It was then that I dedicated myself to use my artwork to assist this cause in any way I could.
Education is essential in protecting our natural world. The actions and choices we make, even in inland areas, trickle down to the sea. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to display my artwork in museums, zoos, aquariums, and other scientific institutions around the United States to show others the intricate beauty of our blue planet, with the hopes to inspire others to make a change.
Since this time, I’ve relocated from the shores of Lake Erie to Florida, which I now call my home. With the warm shores of the south coast in my backyard, I see the importance of this natural resource now more than ever.
I’ve started to use my work to assist extraordinary conservationists and environmental organizations, reaching from the landlocked mountains of Colorado, to the sandy shores of The Bahamas. I hope to continue this work and do all that I can to spread the message of marine conservation through the power of art.