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September Eco-Artist: Caiti Rose, Sharktopia

Sharktopia - Shark Guardian Interview Questions

Q1: Hi, Caiti – We’re thrilled to have you as our Eco Artist of the Month for September! Tell us a bit about yourself for those who are not familiar with your work.

Hi everyone! I’m a happy, vegan, coffee-loving, ocean artist! I do my best to use my art to alter the misconceptions surrounding sharks and other marine life. I create a lot of non-profit art and have had the pleasure of working alongside some amazing non-profits; such as Shark Guardian! There are 100+ free coloring and activity sheets on my website. Dive in and enjoy!

Q2. You started drawing at a very young age - tell us more about this and how art helped as therapy

I was born with Erb's Duchenne Palsy - nerve damage in the 5th and 6th vertebrae (spine). This caused me to be unable to use my right arm and right hand when I was born. Fortunately, when I turned one, my fingers moved for the first time. Part of my physical therapy included someone helping me hold a marker in my hand. Needless to say, the drawings of sharks showed up a few years later! When I say I've been drawing for as long as I can remember...I mean it! I loved drawing the moment it was introduced to me.

I still live with a damaged immune system (from birth) and will always have limited range of motion in my right arm, shoulder, wrist, etc., but I don't let that stop me from chasing my dreams. Never give up - just keep swimming!

Q3. When did your fascination with sharks start?

Sharks have been fascinating to me for as long as I can remember! I’m sure PBS contributed to my love of the Ocean and all its inhabitants. There always seemed to be a nature show or documentary available to watch while drawing. Additionally, the library was a fantastic go-to resource for art and animal books! I used to get stacks of books! Some of them were “how to draw” this or that, but many of them were just books about various animals that I would draw based on the photos. Some of my oldest ‘shark art’ is from when I was 6-7 years old (I’m 37 now!). I think some of the other influences I had came from the actual drawing books I loved. Ed Emberly had so many books and sharks were on at least a few of those pages. Mark Kistler was also a huge resource for me in the early 90s (PBS show “The Imagination Station”).

Q4. You started Sharktopia in 2014, tell us why you decided to create art for conservation and awareness purposes