The PangeaSeed Murals of Local Ocean Beach Artist, Celeste Byers

by on December 6, 2016 · 4 comments

in Culture, Environment, Health, Media, Ocean Beach, Organizing, World News

meredith-celeste-1By South OB Girl

Local artist Celeste Byers has done ten murals for PangeaSeed Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans.

Some of the murals have been in San Diego and some have been abroad. PangeaSeed mural projects aim to raise awareness about different issues effecting our oceans. As an artist for PangeaSeed she has traveled to Sri Lanka, Vietnam, New Zealand, and several cities in Mexico.


Celeste Byers – by South OB Girl

The PangeaSeed Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization, has a website description of its name and mission – as follows:

“The word ‘Pangea‘ derives from ancient Greek meaning ‘entire earth.’ It’s the concept of the super continent that was surrounded by a single vast ocean which existed over 250 million years ago, well before the current continents were separated into their now recognizable forms.

PangeaSeed Foundation aims to unify and connect individuals around the world, opening a dialogue to share ideas and develop a better global understanding of our connection with the oceans. Through education, awareness and action we are working together to solve this environmental crisis.

No matter where you are in the world, your lifestyle and consumption habits have positive and negative effects on every animal (including humans) and ecosystem on the planet. In short, like Pangea the super continent, we are all connected.

The word ‘seed’ invokes an image of growth, progress and evolution. Through PangeaSeed Foundation, we strive to grow together to develop a better global understanding of the need to protect oceans and conserve its valuable resources. The ‘Seed’ in our name, is also an acronym for ‘Sustainability, Education, Ecology and Design,’ the four core pillars we stand by.” See their website.

To fulfill its mission, PangeaSeed Foundation relies on the support of individual donors, corporate partners, and foundations who share its vision and values. PangeaSeed pursues grants and corporate contributions to help fund its innovative, cross-disciplinary ARTivism programs.

Partners of PangeaSeed include: Whole Foods, Patagonia, Volcom, Lush handmade cosmetics, Kona Brewing Co, the Honolulu Museum of Art, Kaaboo Del Mar, Save Our Seas Foundation, and more.

The mission of PangeaSeed as described on its website:

“PangeaSeed Foundation’s mission is to harness the power of art, science, and creativity to generate awareness and stimulate dialogue to inspire and effect positive change surrounding global ocean environmental issues.

We forge a synthesis between creative expression, nature, and society to (re)connect individuals and communities with our planet’s most important ecosystem by following our core values of sustainability, education, ecology, and design.”

When Celeste traveled for PangeaSeed projects, air travel, accommodations, meals, and paint were provided by PangeaSeed.

The following are PangeaSeed murals by Celeste Byers:

La Bodega Gallery 2196 Logan Ave San Diego, Sept 2016
The theme for this mural was marine mammal captivity. A couple of days after Celeste and Aaron Glasson finished painting the mural, the governor of California signed legislation banning orca whale breeding and captivity programs in CA. The law also bans California parks from featuring the whales in performances for entertainment. But this is not the end of marine mammal captivity.


meredith-celeste-1“Penguin Paradise”
Napier, New Zealand, March 2016
Celeste chose to paint about the endangered Fiorland Crested penguins who nest in the rainforest and ocean rock caves of New Zealand’s South Island. Their population has decreased since human arrival and in the past 35 years their population has gone from 10,000 breeding pairs to 3,000.


meredith-celeste-4“Sonic Sea”
Encinitas, May 2016
This mural was inspired by a documentary called Sonic Sea that is about how marine vessels, sonic probing, and military tests disrupt life in the ocean and lead to mass beachings of whales, whale brain hemorrhages, and interrupt whale communication. Celeste painted Gray Whales which migrate just a few blocks away from the mural in the Pacific Ocean.


meredith-celeste-5“Vanishing Tuna Fish”
Kaaboo Del Mar, San Diego, Sept 2015
20′ x 30′ mural collaboration with Aaron Glasson. The mural addresses the fact that Bluefin Tuna are close to extinction since their populations have decreased by 96.4% due to human demand and overfishing.


meredith-celeste-2-freed“Shark Fin Soup”
Cozumel, Mexico, July 2015
The goal was to raise awareness about shark finning and how over 100 MILLION sharks are killed EVERY YEAR for shark fin soup, a delicacy in Chinese and Japanese culture. Sharks are caught, their fins are cut off, and they are thrown back into the water to drown, just so we can eat soup. Though the subject matter is brutal, Celeste and her collaborating artist, Cara, didn’t want to paint anything scary. So while swimming in the ocean, the two artists decided to paint two people swimming around each other like sharks in a cosmic bowl of shark fin soup.



meredith-celeste-3b“Pineapple Lizard Throat Chakralization”
Colombo, Sri Lanka, May 2013
Simon Blackfoot, Rah Akaishi, and Celeste painted this mural in one day in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Manta rays are killed here for their throat filters which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. The throat chakra is associated with creativity and freedom of self expression. Celeste painted a pineapple lizard because she had a dream about such a creature.

meredith-celeste-6“Sea Urchins”
Ho Chi Minh City at Blackmarket No. 3, Vietnam, July 2013
After visiting Vietnam’s Whale Island, Aaron Glasson and Celeste decided to paint a mural about what they witnessed. The plastic waste from nearby fish farms was covering the beach and the antibiotics and extra nutrients the farms deposited into the water was disrupting the area’s ecosystem, causing an abundance of algae and black sea urchins around the coral reefs.

Other Murals

“Lion Fish Project”
Tulum, Mexico, Dec 2013
Aaron Glasson and Celeste painted this giant mural, Black Liva and the Lion Fish, in Tulum, Mexico for Residencia Gorila’s Lion Fish Project. Lion fish are an invasive species in the Caribbean and Celeste hopes people will eat them up before they eat everything else. The mural is right up the street from Tulum’s Mayan ruins.

“Paw Paw y Goong Goong (Whale Sharks and Manta Rays)”
Isla Mujeres, Mexico, July 2014
Celeste painted her grandparents. Her grandmother (Paw Paw) had shown her photos from when her and her grandpa (Goong Goong) met 70 years ago. They got married 3 months after meeting and created a wonderful family! Their love is inspiring and they have done so much for Celeste in her life that she made the picture as a dedication to them. She painted them as Whale Sharks because she hoped to raise awareness about the endangered Whale Sharks and Manta Rays which migrate through Isla Mujeres every year.

“Marshian Lands,” UCSD’s Natural Reserve Systems’ trailer
Kendall Frost Marsh, San Diego, April 2014
Roy Little, head of Friends of Mission Bay Marshes, asked Celeste to paint a mural on UCSD’s Natural Reserve Systems’ research trailer at Kendall Frost Marsh. The marsh is home to a rich ecosystem of life including many species of fish, insects, spiders, mammals, and over 360 species of birds (including migratory ones and the endangered Light-Footed Clapper Rail). The marsh serves as a nursery for many fish and birds and is therefore very important to the health of the surrounding ocean and bays.

Celeste has murals throughout OB and San Diego and has quite a following with 13,500 followers on Instagram. An in depth story about Celeste was previously published here. We can most certainly expect more great things from this talented young woman.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page December 7, 2016 at 10:48 am

Great story, I can’t imagine what it would be like to have this talent and to use it so well.


South OB Girl December 7, 2016 at 9:29 pm

Agreed Geoff — Ms. Byers is remarkably talented!! And we are lucky to have 2 murals by her right here in OB.


nostalgic December 8, 2016 at 1:09 am

OB has murals and Torrey Pines, free beaches and scenic cliffs. Too often we have to focus on the problems and the visions of development. It’s a good time of year to remember why we all live here, or if we don’t, still have fond memories of what it is like.


Chuck December 9, 2016 at 5:20 am

Absolutely beautiful murals, Celeste. Hope to see more of your work locally. I’ve stopped by both of the OB walls you’ve done…


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