February Eco-Artist: Below and Beyond Art Interview
Updated: Mar 4
Each month Shark Guardian selects an artist that goes above and beyond (and in this case below and beyond!) the call of duty for the sake of the ocean and all its inhabitants. We believe that artists, like photographers, play a vital and often underestimated role in ocean conservation. They inspire, educate and cultivate passions that may never had been sparked. Each month during 2021 we are shining a light on some of the great artists we’ve had the privilege of working with - come join us!
Our first eco-artist and February feature is the wonderful Below and Beyond Art. So without further ado, Janavi take to the stage!
A little background to begin with, please introduce yourself. My name is Janavi Kramer and I am a British Nautical Artist and the face behind Below and Beyond Art. I work with a variety of mediums but love using watercolour and archival inks. The goal of all my work is to articulate the magic of the ocean; not only hoping to evoke the same passion in others but also to highlight the threats impacting the ocean and all the species within it.
When did you first become interested in the ocean?
I spent much of my childhood fascinated by nature documentaries such as Blue Planet. I was simply mesmerised by the endless wonders and seemingly mythical creatures that were presented on the screen. So much so in fact, that I would frequently plead with my parents to take me to the seaside so that I could wade into the ocean and clamber through rock pools to document my own discoveries. And the fascination only deepened with the more I learnt!
What’s the best thing you’ve seen underwater?
The best and most memorable moment underwater was my first time encountering an Oceanic Manta Ray. As it emerged out of the blue, I can describe what I felt only as pure euphoria. Watching this majestic species dance in the gentle currents around me was nothing less than magic. The presence of both elegance and power was so captivating to witness. This moment inspired my ambition to contribute towards ocean conservation and to this day they are a continuous source of inspiration to my creative process.
As a diver, we have to ask what's the best place you've ever dived?
I have been so lucky with the experiences I have had so far but Indonesia has always held a special place in my heart as it is where I lived for several months whilst I completed my Dive Master and the ocean there truly felt like home. Almost every dive is like an attack on the senses; rich with diversity, colour and spoilt for choice with different species to observe!
Have you met any sharks on your underwater adventures yet?
To date, I have only had the privilege to dive with Grey Reef sharks, Blacktip Reef sharks and Whitetip Reef sharks - but I have many adventures planned to dive with more!
What's your favourite shark and why?
My favourite shark has always been the infamous Great White Shark. It is so heartbreakingly misunderstood and yet I believe it is one of the most majestic and incredible species in the Ocean.
Tell us about a favourite Below and Beyond Art project of yours?
One of my favourite pieces I've done this year was a reef mural comission. The piece was requested for a little girls room who lives by the sea. The process of creating it was incredibly rewarding because the goal was not to create a perfect representation of the environment but more so to illustrate the magic below the surface. It was such honour to paint something that would hopefully inspire a young person to grow to love the ocean and evoke the same curiousity and passion that I had as a child too!