Culture Lifestyle

Sea Change

30 June 2020

We talk to art consultant Ty Wood about his campaign to save the oceans, one customised surfboard at a time.

Surfboards have long acted as canvases for artists. But now, there's purpose to this art – namely protecting the oceans. Ty Wood is one of the directors of Project 0, an organisation dedicated to safeguarding the world's seas by raising funds for marine conservation groups. Thanks to his links in the art world, he's managed to get street artists like Louis Masai, Fanakapan and Pure Evil to customise a surfboard each.

As part of Quintessentially's Art Patron Programme, the boards were exhibited at a special pop-up shop launch party in June 2018, where patrons were offered the chance to bid for their favourite - and all the monies raised went to Project 0.

Here, Ty Wood tells us exactly why saving the oceans is a passion of his.

Quintessentially: What's the story behind the surfboards?

Ty: We were looking at a canvas for artists that was emblematic of the oceans, easy to work with, and also great for buyers to collect. The pieces, when they are together, create a dramatic statement that's hard to miss.

Q: How did you persuade celebrities and artists to produce works?

Ty: It's the ocean. As far as we know, we're the only planet in the universe with an ocean, and the oceans are what keep us all alive. So it really isn't my persuasion, it's the good of what we can do together to help solve some major issues.

Q: What's your favourite board?

Ty: They're all my favourite!

Q: Tell us about Project 0. Why is it important?

Ty: Project 0 was created to raise awareness and open up new revenue streams to give to ocean conservation organisations. There simply isn't enough awareness about the issues the oceans face, or funding available to create long-term sustainability. We'll keep on going until there is 'zero' left to do – hence the name Project 0.

Q: How did you get involved?

Ty: I became an ambassador first, and then Michele Clarke, the founder, asked me to be on the board of directors. I then started working every day with Michele and the team. I've been doing this for over a year now and we've been able to accomplish some great things. And there's more to come!

Q: You'd like 30 % of the oceans protected by 2030. How will this be achieved?

Ty: The oceans account for 71 % of our planet. Of the remaining 29 % – 'the dirt' as Sylvia Earle says – 14 % is under protection. But at this moment, less than 5 % of the oceans are safeguarded – there's not enough set aside for fish to make more fish.

Q: What exactly are marine-protected areas?

Ty: They're complete ecosystems - these areas create more resilience to all the pressures that humans put on the oceans. We'll help achieve our target by doing what we do best: create activations that raise awareness, inspire behaviour change and make grants to get more of the oceans under protection.

Q: Finally, what's the likelihood of you surfing on one of the boards?

Ty: To stick with a theme: zero!

For more information on how Quintessentially's Art Patron Programme can aid environmental projects and how you can get involved, please contact Tali Zeloof:

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