Meet Artist Tracie Sugo creator of Kohola Kai Creative
Tracie is a multi-media artist, marine mammal naturalist and just a general ocean nerd and conservation advocate. She worked on the water for 3 years for a dolphin and whale eco-tour company, and is passionate about helping people to see the beauty of the oceans both through hand on experiences and through her artwork. Through art, she also helps raise awareness for threats to marine life such as plastic pollution, shark finning, overfishing and habitat depletion.
It was great to connect with you Tracie! Thank you for sharing your story!
Explore her work on her
1) What is your favorite shark and why?
That’s a tough question- there are so many sharks that I like! To narrow it down to one species, I would have to say tiger shark. Their striped patterns are so beautiful, their teeth are so unique and they are just such incredible predators!
2) What is one species of shark you’d like to snorkel /dive with?
I would absolutely love to share the water with whale sharks- gentle giants in warm waters!
3) How did you get started with your artwork? Can you tell us a little about your pieces and how you create them?
To start a new piece, I usually being by sketching out different forms of my initial idea. After I settle on one, I draw it out in pencil and then add in the medium of choice. My go-to is black ink, but I have also been engrossed in mixed media painting lately. The key to both of these methods is identifying different areas of shading and/or texture and working in layers accordingly. For some of my ink pieces, I like to scan them and arrange multiple pieces together digitally- like my “Sharks of the World”
4) How does art impact and help conservation?
I hope to help raise awareness and inspire people to take action for different conservations issues through my work. Some of the issues I’ve illustrated include shark finning, pinniped culling and the dolphin drive hunts Taiji, Japan. Additionally, my on-going 100 reasons project spotlights 100 threatened marine species, highlighting their biggest threats. Some of the species and issues I’ve illustrated so far are shot fin mako sharks and over fishing, fin whales and entanglement, green sea turtles and plastic pollution, and the southern resident killer whales and salmon depletion.
5) Why did you start creating shark and cetacean pieces?
Since I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to two things: the ocean and creating things with my hands. Drawing, painting and sculpting are all outlets that I have explored since childhood and continued into adulthood. As a child, my mom would give my an allowance based on the number of books I read. I loaded up on shark, dolphin and whale books at my local library, and started keeping a notebook where I drew out each species and wrote down different facts about them. It all kind of started from there and has developed since then. Bringing my two biggest interests together was a very natural step!
6) What message do you hope people take away from your art?
Through my art, I hope that people will learn new things about the ocean and the creatures in it- and be inspired to help protect them!