How to Buy Art and Save the Oceans

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Akila Berjaoui, Tamer AnimalsCourtesy of Akila Berjaoui and Tide Studio

New online platform Tide Studios allows you to support environmental charities while decorating your walls

For photographic editors Nikki McClarron and Natalia Bagniewska, growing up in close proximity to the ocean and lakes – McClarron is from Devon, while Bagniewska spent much time in Poland – has had a profound effect on the way they appreciate and explore art. “We ended up just naturally being drawn, in our personal work, towards photographers or artists who have a connection with water or the ocean in some sort of form,” McClarron tells us over the phone. “If we were wanting to buy prints ourselves or collect imagery or research imagery, it would always be surrounded by that kind of style.” She is describing the thinking behind Tide Studio, a new online platform created by the two photographic editors, where prints by photographers and artists are available to buy and ten per cent of profits go to Cornwall-based environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage, which currently addresses the issue of plastic polluting the UK coastlines. “When it comes to being interested in buying artwork or photography, it didn't seem that there were many platforms out there who were supporting a charity,” McClarron explains. “It's more that you buy something luxurious and that’s that.”

Tide Studio launched last month and currently offers work by 15 artists, but McClarron and Bagniewska see this number growing. “It’s interesting how a lot of creative people are really drawn to the water or the ocean, or they go to a certain place to reflect on things,” says McClarron. Tthe pair have had no trouble in curating artists whose practices connect to water or the ocean – and it is by no means a restrictive brief. Here, McClarron spotlights seven of Tide Studio’s artists. 

1. Samantha Casolari

“I’d known Samantha’s work for ages. I knew more of her fashion photography, but I always really loved her personal work. Her work’s kind of dreamy. It’s very feminine, it’s very detailed and has these washed out bits of light coming through; it’s interesting how gentle the pictures are. We worked on pulling a selection of her personal images together, some from Italy, some from Bali and a couple from the Rockaways in New York, where she lives. She’s talked about how being by the water – living in a city but being on an island – is super important to her, and I really loved that as well.”

2. Alice Quaresma

“Alice was our first artist to come on board. She’s Brazilian, she lives in New York, and she travels around and takes black and white photographs and then paints shapes over the images. I think her imagery is just so beautiful, you could almost forget sometimes when looking at them that they are photographs; they’ve become their own form, in a way. She’s been super supportive as well – she’s really into surfing and really connected to the ocean, and she created work for Tide exclusively.”

3. Akila Berjaoui

Akila’s work I actually came across on Instagram. When I saw her work I thought it was like Slim Aarons because the photographs look they could be taken in the 60s or the 70s. She shoots on film and they’re mostly shot in Italy, Capri or somewhere outside Barcelona. And they just have this real Mediterranean in the 60s and 70s, summer vibes – there is a richness to them.”

4. BD Graft

“We love how abstract BD’s take is on the making of images. He goes back to basics and makes everything by hand, with paper, scissors, glue, paint – really gets stuck in – and builds up these images. They are handmade and quite simple but they have really nice bold splashes of colour, and I love the way he hand draws loads of things. He has a unique take on abstract imagery, but there is still detail in there. He gave us four images that connect to the water in some way. Clam is a really amazing one and Diver, as well – I think those two are my favourites of his.”

5. Joe Cruz

“Joe’s work I knew from working in magazines – he does quite a lot of beauty image-making. He uses old black and white photographs and then paints over them to create his own image. The colours are so bright and strong and vibrant. Some images are these beautiful black and white shots, but he produces an entirely different feel. They’re very upbeat and happy. When it comes to the imagery he picks, he always uses iconic or interesting photographic imagery behind the work. We’ve got two of his editions which are both summery, watery feeling. Just the feeling of summer.”

6. Kristin Texiera

“Kristin uses really bold blocks of colour and shapes, and we just loved her. She created this series when she lived on a houseboat, and she gave us a little quote about it, where she said living on the water infiltrated her dreams and then she created these prints. I love her use of colour. It’s not overpowering; it’s quite calm in tone, with really beautiful and bold shapes. You can see the water influence in them as well.”

7. Vesna Vrdoljak

“Vesna’s work is very abstract and I love her use of colour – the black and white found photographs against the pops of bright colours she uses. She does a lot of layering, she kind of cuts things out and layers things on top. It’s kind of like BD Graft’s work, but while his is slightly more bold and abstract, while hers is a little bit more photographic. I discovered her when I was researching collage artists, and she always stayed on my radar.”