Before Underwater Sculpture
Underwater Sculpture isn’t a field anyone would ever expect to find themselves. Spencer Arnold, creator of Drowning Sculpture, is from Toronto, Canada. It was to the North, far out of the city where he spent time up in the secluded forests of Ontario, where a deep connection and passion for natural landscapes formed. This love eventually expanded out beyond his native home to more exotic places that he was fortunate enough to explore through voluntourism projects like Project Sea, Outreach International and Operation Wallacea. It was in those early year where he saw his first coral reef and the trajectory of his life was forever changed.
Another defining moment would occur in 2007 when he saw his first underwater sculpture “Vicissitudes”, installed by a great inspiration to his work, Jason DeCaires Taylor. Jason’s work had taken the world by storm at this point and the surreal environments in which his sculptures found themselves below the sea inspired the seed of an idea that consumed Spencer until he found himself in a position to draw from Jason and many other artistic inspirations to begin creating works of underwater sculpture with the help of good friend Chad Scott, and his non-profit Conservation Diver, along with the incredible team of biologists and colleagues that encouraged him along the way.
“We’re all drowning. As we look forward towards our collective future, anxiety and depression are the only appropriate response. In the face of unavoidable, catastrophic climate change we are left with rage at what has been done and fear for what’s to come. The weight of those emotions on our shoulders push us down and we drown in them. The only light can come from hope, but hope is not enough alone.
If you find yourself overcome, drowning in your fear for our future, then join myself and Conservation Diver programs across the globe to be apart of the change that you wish to see in the world. It is the only chance we have.
Three years after this drowned conservationist was first deployed it is now teeming with life. The restoration techniques that were used have been developed from decades of scientific research on coral transplantation from marine biologists around the world. Conservation Diver teaches a hollistic, genetically sensitive approach to gardening coral reef ecosystems that is tailored to each specific reef where our Conservation Diver Master Trainer’s are stationed.
Drowning Sculpture is a call to action for all those who are looking to get involved in giving back to our oceans. Each instillation is a desperate attempt to draw attention to the rampant destruction of our blue world. Coral reef ecosystems are amongst the most biodiverse, strikingly beautiful places on our planet, but they are also some of the most deeply affected by rising temperatures. As global bleaching events are more and more frequent, the time that we have to act and preserve these spaces is quickly running out. It’s time to take a stand and become a conservation diver yourself. Join me and just maybe we can make a difference.”