Ambassador Q&A with Ocean Artist Rena Ortega

Our Ocean Artist Rena Ortega

Rena is our super talented ocean artist and illustrator! She is the creator of gorgeous artwork that we use for our products (for example our pun-tastic ocean t-shirts) and in our campaigns. This is a little Q&A style blog to introduce you to Rena and to give you a bit of background into her relationship with the ocean and the motivation behind her lovely ocean art.

Q&A with ocean artist Rena …

If you were an animal what would you be?

In the water, a humpback whale to dance on the ocean, defy gravity and explore all the oceans of the world. On land, a deer. Noble, faithful and elegant, symbol of life and rebirth.

What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?

Above all, read and look at picture books, let my imagination fly and learn. Also walk through nature (sea or mountain) and travel to discover new cultures and get inspired.

What is your first memory / experience of the ocean?

The first time I surfed, when I was 16 years old. From that moment, I felt a great connection with the sea, it made me really feel free.

How did you get interested in sustainability / eco living and / or the ocean?

Due to a change in my life in which I felt a strong bond with nature, I felt more connected to nature than to humanity. I saw the beauty of nature and I wanted to convey to the whole world the importance and respect for it with my art, and that with small actions and changes in life, we can do a lot for the planet.

Ocean art for our masks - whale shark design
Just one of the lovely ocean designs Rena created for our range of reusable masks!

What do you find hardest about advocating for the ocean and / or sustainability?

Change the simplest and most closed minds, make people who are only interested in money see that the important thing is really out there, that without nature, without a healthy ocean, we are nothing. I try to do it through my illustrations, through beauty, but people only stay on the surface, they do not deepen or change their habits or routines. It’s hard to fight something that people have been doing wrong for so long.

What is your favourite place to visit?

Iceland, a very special place for me, where my heart belongs. A place where nature is still more free and powerful than human beings. It is the perfect place to make peace with nature.

Whale illustration by ocean artist Rena
One of Rena’s favourite illustrations that is hanging in Husavik Whale Museum in Iceland

Where do you want to travel next and why?

Azores Islands. A place I live very near and where nature is also the main character. Volcanoes, whales, beaches, jungle, ocean… is like a little paradise to escape and disconnect from the city and its rythm.

What keeps you motivated and inspired?

The beauty and all the good things of life and nature. For me it’s a motivation to make beautiful things for the planet, to fill the lives of people with colour and good energy. It is a way of leaving a mark, of being part of a whole.

What advice would you give someone reading this who wants to start helping the ocean?

You have to passionately fight for what you want. Life has taught me that if you really want something and you fight for it, you will get it sooner or later. The ocean is too beautiful and incredible and we must re-educate people, show them the importance and beauty that hides in its waters so that we learn to love and respect it. Do not stay only on the idea, do it, start little, act.

Any upcoming projects / activities / causes you want to shout out?

A beautiful illustrated book of whales that will be published in spring 2021.
I’m also preparing a watercolour whale and nature illustration workshop so that people can learn to transmit their beauty and importance through art.
I also want to create a meeting point for cetacean lovers in Spain and connect it with the whole world and I’m going to do an art collaboration with the American Cetacean Society.

Rena Ortega, Illustrator, nature lover and explorer of the world. See more from ocean artist on Instagram @renaortega or check out her Etsy

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