The Writings on the Sea-Wall: Ocean Art by Bryan Helfand

As science communicators, we are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to translate the ramblings of the ivory tower into a relatable and accessible public dialogue. In my experience, our strongest ally in this endeavor lies in the artists, musicians, and storytellers within our communities. “The Writing on the Sea-Wall” series seeks to highlight the skilled, artisans and projects that help us in our ongoing mission to connect people to science through tangible and impacting messages.


Photo and Art: Bryan Helfand

I love kelp. I love art. It’s safe to say that ‘kelp art’ brings me to a whole new level of excitement that some could consider “overwhelming” in normal human interactions. I’m okay with it- people need to get on my level.

I first came across artist Bryan Helfand’s kelp art a few years back now and I have since been a huge fan. Normally, I reserve this bit for artists whose work communicates science in some interesting way- Bryan is the exception here- but I have found myself enthralled with the way he portrays the ocean and more specifically everyone’s favorite primary producer. Helfand is a local San Diego artist who specializes in mixed media paintings, wood carvings, and murals and whose muse stems from his passion for and experience with the sea. I often find myself perusing his Facebook page for his next beautiful masterpiece- the man is a wizard with a jigsaw.

I love how he captures the unique ebb and flow of Macrocystis – not true to form per se – but beautiful and vibrant none the less. Enjoy a few of his imaginings here and then go take a look at his website for some inspiration. The ocean needs more excellent artists like Bryan to speak for it and show the world how beautiful it truly is.

Photo and Art: Bryan Helfand

Photo and Art: Bryan Helfand

Photo and Art: Bryan Helfand

Alex Warneke (107 Posts)

Alex currently resides as a Science Communicator for the National Park Service, where she inspires thousands a year to love the watery world. Alex earned her Masters degree in chemical ecology from San Diego State University investigating the effects of heavy metal pollutants on the chemical communication between organisms. In her “free time,” Alex enjoys convincing the public that Ecology is indeed sexy. With that goal, she is a strong proponent of unconventional science communication and extending the broader impacts of science to the general public using the outlets of film and social media. When she is not busy busting a move or filming her next rap video, she can normally be found frolicking through the California kelp forest.


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