Growing up on Hawaii Island, Mark Ley has spent every spare moment in the ocean. Diving, surfing and exploring. When his daughter came along, he shared his love of the ocean with her and over the years, his ohana developed their own form of treasuring hunting. They scour the reefs and beaches, gathering the bits and pieces left behind by other ocean explorers. Surfboard fins, stuck in the reefs, became a favorite find along with other objects of human life.
But collecting them wasn’t enough.
These reclaimed pieces are then used to create one-of-a-kind works of art using a modern interpretation of the ancient art form of Gyotaku. Using acrylic paints and carefully constructed color palettes, Mark dips his reef finds into the paint and then presses it onto paper—memorializing the piece, the special time with his family, and cleaning the reefs—all while providing us with original works of abstract art.
“There’s an incredible scope of shapes and sizes of fins, each with its own story and genre,” shares Mark, and through his work we become ocean explorers ourselves.