Saturday, September 8, 2012

Loving Robert Wyland

You may not know Robert Wyland's name, but I'm sure you've seen his work. Wyland is best known for painting at least 100 large-scale murals of marine life on buildings all around the world. If you've visited the Long Beach Convention Center in California, you have already appreciated one of his largest mural masterpieces.

During the family weekend trip to Laguna Beach in August, we stopped in his gallery there. Before we walked through the doors, I always believed that Wyland, who began this work as a conservationist protecting marine wildlife, was only a painter of large-scale murals and art prints.

What we learned is that Wyland is also an accomplished sculptor, photographer and illustrator of wildlife as well. His gallery was filled with his original pieces depicting the beauty and preciousness of wildlife in our oceans and jungles. This fountain of an adult dolphin and its baby swimming in the waves was sculpted by Wyland and welcomes visitors at the entrance of his gallery. In person, the playful dolphins look so real, you wouldn't be surprised if they started talking to you.

Exploring Wyland's art leaves you with this feeling of urgency to do more to protect and conserve our precious wildlife. Wyland is more than just a master artist; he is also a masterful social change communicator as well.

What I admire most about him is that he turned his talent and passion into a career that creates change. He identified and cultivated his greatest ability -- being an artist -- and turned it into a profitable career that  supports his love of marine life and commitment to protect it for future generations. Don't we all wish we could do that too?

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