Photos: Chelsea Erwin
Bikini’s: FayEtte Bikinis
Tell me a little about yourself.
I am a surfer, diver, traveler, marine life artist, art teacher and ocean enthusiast. I was born and raised in Palm Beach County and attended the middle school and high school of the arts. I went to study painting at the Maryland Institute College of art in Baltimore and received my Masters in Art Education. This is my 4th year of teaching art at the Palm Beach Maritime Academy and I am so lucky to be surrounded by inspiring people and students all the time. I have been working on the nautical chart series for about a year now and it has been a pretty awesome experience, attracting all kinds of cool, like-minded people.
How did you get started painting the nautical maps?
My friend’s Dad was a treasure hunter with Mel Fischer and a Boat captain for years. He had all of these old charts and asked me if I could do anything with them. My brother and sister-in-law had just got an octopus in their fish tank at the time and I went over there to stare at him and study him pretty often. I was so inspired by that little guy, that I decided to paint him on one of the charts of Key West for an empty wall in our house. I was pretty much hooked after that. It was such a new experience to let the map decide how to compose the painting. How will my artwork interact with the lines and soundings or land? How can I make them feel like they are in a harmonious relationship? I like to play with the colors, lines and balance of the painting to make it feel more unified. I learn something new from each one and try to carry that with me to the next one. I have also been doing a lot of commissions lately and it has been even more fun for me to collaborate with someone else and their travel experiences, memories or dreams.
What inspires you?
Obviously, my experiences in the ocean really inspire me, surfing and diving, but I am also really inspired by other creative people doing great things for marine conservation and awareness. I want to help make a difference in whatever way I can with my artwork or my teaching. I have met some of the most amazing people this last year and it really keeps me fired up to know that the world is changing for the better because of them.
What hobbies do you have?
As I mentioned before, I like anything in the water and was a seasonal ocean lifeguard for Palm Beach County for 7 years. I love competing in races and grew up running and swimming, but I have mostly been keeping in surf shape and doing yoga now, nothing too extreme. I also like cooking with friends, traveling and camping, spearfishing is my new favorite, spending time with family, and watching movies with my husband.
Where can we find and purchase your amazing art?
You can purchase my artwork at www.carlymejeur.com as limited edition prints, or check the show calendar on the site to visit me at an upcoming art festival near you. I can be reached through the contact form on my website, or message me through the Carly Marine Life Facebook page to talk about a specific commission. I am also selling throw pillows, iPhone cases and other merchandise now through www.society6.com/carlymejeur.
Tell me about being an art teacher and how you teach your students about art.
I love being an art teacher because I have so much freedom to create lessons and units that have to do with current events, inspiring artists or issues that the students and I are interested in at the time. I think that my enthusiasm shows and spreads when we are doing a project that was inspired by something I am really passionate about. I am so lucky to be at a maritime themed school because I can integrate marine life and conservation issues in so many different ways. I have several projects that I am excited about this year and have been collaborating with Justin Riney and his Florida Expedition 500. I have been posting our progress on that on the Carly Mejeur Marine Life Facebook page if you want to follow along.