Tammy is a former Art Conservator, now professional artist who is usually found immersed in her subject matter. If not in her studio painting, she can usually be found training for open-water ocean swims or surfing off BC’s coast.

Her time spent in the Pacific Ocean, both here in British Columbia and while living in San Francisco and Hong Kong, has exposed her to the superlatives in humankind’s relationship to the environment. Her experiences in the ocean, whether heartbreaking – swimming through floating islands of plastic – or heartening – sighting a healthy family of orcas – inform her art and her philanthropy. A repeat artist contributor to Pacific Wild, The Grizzly Bear Foundation, and other worthy causes, she hopes to increase awareness and engender positive change through her art.

For the vision that drives her current series of the Glass Sponge Reefs, please read below.

“I was drawn to Pacific Wild’s conservation efforts as I explored research into the protection of the Grizzly Bear through my auction donations to the Grizzly Bear Foundation. Realizing the need for broader protection for both the Marine and Rainforest environment of the BC coastal regions, led me to the more comprehensive efforts of Pacific Wild.

While the protection of the grizzly is very important to me, the welfare of our marine ecosystem is the cause closest to my heart.

I participated in last year’s call for artists to support Pacific Wild, donating four paintings to the cause. These works, part of my “Lunation” series, explored the diversity of organisms that wash up upon the shores of British Columbia.

This summer, I was part of the “Saving Sea to Sky” exhibit at The Hearth Gallery on Bowen Island, where I exhibited my painting of the Glass Sponge reefs which inhabit our coastal waters.

The realization that we have living glass sponges that are up to 220 years old, growing on reefs that are over 500 million years old below the shimmering surface of B.C.’s coastal waters is astounding. As Pacific Wild is all too aware, these precious, ancient reefs are vulnerable to fishing methods and rising ocean temperatures.

As Conservationist Kristine Thompkins stated “You can’t protect a place unless you understand it. You can’t love it until you know it.” Without being able to see these colossal towers of swaying silica, and without understanding their prehistoric past, many won’t feel the call to protect them. By referencing several deep-sea videos from the Canadian Government survey of the area, I created my own visual interpretation of the appearance of new growth of the glass sponge called cloud sponge (Aphrocallistes vastus). The cloudy photographs only hint at the exquisite nature of these fragile yet colossal forms, so I hope my efforts to render them in paint heighten public awareness of their majesty and importance.”