New Music Video

Check out the new music video for the song ‘Walrus Love Song’ from the Ocean Roots debut album. Footage was film in Stanley Park, Vancouver BC.

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Great Bear Rainforest Series

Mike is starting a new series of paintings entitled ‘The Great Bear Rainforest Series’. The pieces will focus on wildlife in and around the coastal rainforest area.

The Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Canada is one of the largest remaining tracts of unspoiled temperate rainforest left in the world. The area is home to species such as cougars, wolves, salmon, grizzly bears, and the Kermode (“spirit”) bear, a unique subspecies of the black bear, in which one in ten cubs display a recessive white coloured coat.

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Ocean Roots To Donate To United Conservationists

We at Ocean Roots will now donate 1/3 of proceeds made through sales in the online store to United Conservationists.

Who are United Conservationists?

We are the next generation of conservationists, reinvigorating and reinventing conservation as we know it. The conservation movement today isn’t effective enough. Nearly every nation’s emissions have increased since Kyoto, and our consumption and destruction is rising as exponentially as our population. Deforestation, overfishing, habitat loss, and extinctions are all issues we’ve known of for decades, yet they have all gotten worse. Studies show that individual actions alone can’t solve our environmental crisis. Governments and corporations need to do their part but historically only change with public pressure.

With our roots deep in the oceans and sharks, thanks to the movie Sharkwater of course, these are some of our first campaigns as a formal organization. We are currently working on three exciting shark campaigns to address the issues facing sharks. With over 73,000,000 sharks killed a year, and over 1/3 of shark species facing extinction, we can’t afford to wait.

excerpts taken from

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Fin Free Vancouver Launch Fundraiser

Support Shark Truth’s efforts to launch Fin Free campaigns across the lower mainland to ban shark fin. Join us as we tour you through the classical Chinese Gardens under the moonlight to showcase the beauty and diversity of Chinese culture as a reminder that a Fin Free world is the kind we want to live in.

Thursday, December 1st
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
578 Carrall Street

Entrance by donation (suggested $20, at cash door)
Refreshments provided
Cash bar

Pledge auction
Fintastic raffle prizes (wanna donate one? Contact

Wheelchair accessible

For more information, visit:

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Fin Free Vancouver

Being a Vancouver based organization, we at Ocean Roots are extremely excited about the push to make Vancouver Fin Free.

What is Fin Free?

Fin Free is a global campaign addressing a very real issue: the
mass slaughter of sharks to supply a growing consumer
demand for shark fin. We believe that to protect plummeting
shark populations and ensure their continued existence,
governments must take immediate action, control demand, and
institute legislation that bans the import, sale and trade of
shark fin.

If you would like more info on the current campaign and how you can help please send an email to us at or visit their facebook page at:

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Ocean Roots Greeting Cards Now Available In Vancouver BC!

Ocean Roots have released a new series of greeting cards. The cards are currently in stock at the following stores:

Kimprints – 1179 Denman St & 41 Powell St

Artrageous – 1256 Commercial Drive

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The Origin of Ocean Roots Artwork

When regarding my artwork, I am often asked what draws me to paint such a diversity of marine life.
For me it begins with my birthplace – Shrewsbury – a mid-size English town on the Welsh border, surrounded by a near circular meander of the River Severn. A town steeped in Tudor history, full of winding streets and alleys with such intriguing names as The Bear Steps and Grope Lane (the latter so called because of the close proximity on either side of the overhanging buildings that blocked the light so one would have to ‘grope’ their way.).
It’s a town of much historical significance, and for me the most significant being that it is also the birthplace of Charles Darwin – the infamous ‘father’ of modern day thoughts on evolution.
When traveling, people would often ask me ‘where are you from?’ and I would answer ‘Shrewsbury’. When met with a questioning gaze I would add – ‘it’s the birthplace of Charles Darwin’, and some kind of international recognition was forged.
After traveling the world for several years and using Darwin as my towns ‘claim to fame’, I came to realize that, other than his birthplace and the title of a famous book he wrote, I knew next to nothing about who he was, how he came to his theory, and really I knew little about the theory in general.
Growing up I attended church of England primary and secondary schools where it was not thought ill of to teach evolution but was certainly not dwelled upon. I knew some vague connections our own species have to primates, something about Galapagos giant Tortoises, and that was the extent of my knowledge.
The bearded gentleman sitting outside of the Shrewsbury library became somewhat of an intriguing mystery I had to solve.
While browsing a Seattle book store one day, I happened upon ’The Song of the Dodo’ by David Quammen – a book whose subjects discuss the relationships between evolution and extinction. I picked up a copy and was soon hooked. Quammen’s writing is both entertaining and informative, and the scientific information written in such a way that the average ’layperson’ such as myself could make good sense of it.
Crossing continents, it brushed on a great many conservation topics I was already interested in, introduced me to some new issues, and highlighted the cascading effects of species extinction throughout entire ecosystems.
In addition, Quammen also includes brief biographies of both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace (the gentleman who gave Darwin the accidental ’kick up the ass’ to finish his book before he published the same theory he had come to independently).
I was captivated and began reading all I could regarding Darwin and evolution, including the Origin of the Species and The Voyage of the Beagle, the latter introducing me to a younger Darwin – not dissimilar to myself in his enjoyment of travel and fascination with nature.
The more I read the more enthralling the subject has become, and at the same time the more haunting and true its hidden messages.
Extinction is a natural way of life – indeed there could be no evolution without it and the earth could not be as unbelievably diverse as it has become. Yet its movements are carefully balanced – every species evolves to fit into its own circumstance depending on climate, predation and food supply. So when this balance is tipped – when a species becomes extinct before its due time – an ecosystem is left with holes and its composition will change entirely. Quammen likens this to a fine Persian rug – cut out one small piece and the entire thing will eventually unravel.
Human’s direct involvement with a great many species extinctions is a cause of tremendous concern for environmentalists the world over- and the fact that we often won’t even consider the fault our own is even more concerning. We are quick to blame other predatory species for the demise of another when in fact these species have been living in balanced harmony for many hundreds of years before humans and our insatiable greed came on the scene.
Darwin pondered this amongst many other things and hoped for a future of diversity and a true understanding of its roots.
Similarly, I consider these facts everyday and am constantly inspired  by today’s activists and writers for the subject. I paint what I paint because I am inspired by the amazing diversity of ocean ecosystems and how they have become what they are. I also paint because I want people to understand the incredible beauty, complexity and importance of what is out there – just below the surface – a world left mostly unseen by humans. It is evolution at its finest – a creature or plant to fill every nook and cranny that needs a specialist skill, and it is unsurprisingly so when one considers that the oceans have been forming and evolving life for millions of years before the first creatures had the courage and audacity to take steps into a far dryer and emptier world.
I cross oceans and ecosystems with my art because in reality the entire world is an ecosystem and the problems of degradation of these habitats is global. We all have to change our thinking and actions if the oceans are to survive into the future, and essentially the survival of the human race is bound to this.
I have been lucky enough in my life to have experienced many of these amazing habitats and I hope that through sharing these in my artwork I can share a greater appreciation of life.
Darwin spent 25 years writing his book, 8 of these were spent studying barnacles and he was still unhappy with the final result! I feel I could spend far longer trying to express the way I feel about ocean diversity and not even have had the chance to portray half the creatures that comprises of.
The task is mammoth (please excuse the joke!), but like Darwin and his book, it is a labor of love and, in some small way, of importance for a better – more understanding world.

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International Marine Conservation Congress 2011

In March this year I was asked by the amazing artist Robi Smith of Blue Lantern Studios to join her and 5 other artists in creating a gallery display at the 2nd International Marine Conservation Congress in Victoria. Of course I jumped at the chance to display my art to so many ocean appreciating people and on May 13th we hopped on the ferry and took the trip across to Vancouver Island, a place I had only been once previously in my four years residing in Vancouver.
Day one of the conference was very exciting. We hung all of the artwork in our assigned room and began receiving guests who were arriving from all over the world. It was great to meet some of the other artists displaying their work, such as Anne Hansen – or the ‘oystercatcher girl’ as she is known, and Cam MacDonald, and listen to their own reasons for creating ocean inspired art.
As the other delegates began visiting the gallery I quickly realized that this was going to be a really great experience. So many people from so many different areas and specializing in so many different subjects, but all with one thing in common – a true love for the ocean and dedicated to conserving its biodiversity for the future. As I began chatting with them about my artwork, it was refreshing to not be asked the question – ‘so, why do you paint things from the ocean?’ – everybody already got it, and in fact were probably thinking – ‘why would you ever paint anything else?’.
The gallery itself looked fabulous with the ocean art    from 7 different ocean inspired artists, as well as      greeting cards and other treats we all had on offer.  The combination of a variety of styles, mediums and  subjects made the exhibition great to browse, both  for the delegates and for the public who were also  welcome to take a walk around the gallery.  Everything from Cam MacDonald’s satirical ocean food product labels to Kirsten Chursinoff’s beautifully detailed embroideries provided interest for every visitor. Ian McAllister’s incredible photography provided a strong link to the pacific northwest by way of the Great Bear Rainforest, and his books and films provided a political stance on the proposed pipeline from the Alberta tar sands right through this beautiful and important area that was a widely discussed subject throughout the congress.
As the days flew by I was truly struck by the passion and diversity of the
people I met. It was wonderful to have them appreciate my artwork and to have the chance to share ideas and opinions with them. I was also reminded of the amazing kindness of strangers, often encountered when in a new place, when Mike and I were offered a place to stay when it started raining buckets on us sleeping in our little van. This made
the congress a much more comfortable affair for us and we made great new friends in the process.
We were also extremely lucky to be able to sit in on the many talks and seminars being held throughout the congress. This was a fantastic learning opportunity for me, to get more of an insight into ocean conservation from those who have the real inside knowledge, and it was also an emotional experience as I was surrounded by facts and opinions, some of which I agreed with and some not, both of which were a fuel for my activist fire. One of my favourite talks of the whole congress was by photographer Tom Peschak and Shark Truth activist Claudia Li.
The combination of Tom’s amazing shark  photography and Claudia’s great outlook on getting  the message across about stopping shark finning in a  positive way was a truly inspiring discussion.
I feel so incredibly privileged to have been a part of  this event. Robi did such a fantastic job of organizing  and it was really great to spend a good deal of time  talking to her and finding out how she creates her amazing artwork and her own reasons for painting fish!
I hope we can put together many more shows in the  future to reach out to more people and display the  true beauty and importance of the worlds oceans.  This experience has really inspired me to work  harder than ever at protecting the ocean and  delivering the message to others.
I hope I will see you at our next event!
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Ocean Roots @ Sea Shepherd Art Show

Ocean Roots will be donating a piece of art to the 2011 Sea Shepherd Art Show ‘Sea No Evil’. The piece of art entitled ‘Window To The Soul’ was created by Vicky Bowes and will be auctioned off along with many other fantastic pieces of art by other talented artists.

Vicky explains what the inspiration behind the creation of the piece was:

‘My painting ‘Window To The Soul’ was created approximately a year ago after I was inspired by several stories from people lucky enough to have had close encounters with these amazing creatures.’

‘Our eyes are the most revealing window to  our emotions and I believe this to be true of  many other creatures – in particular whales.’

‘I have heard countless stories of life  changing experiences – of whales and human  emotional connections occurring when eye  contact is made – the whale conveying  understanding, sorrow and even pity  towards humans who have ultimately  become this species greatest enemy.’

Many people have succeeded in completely  changing their attitudes towards animals – all  because of a fleeting glimpse into another  soul. I painted this picture as a reminder  that emotions – pain, suffering, anguish, peace, love and so on – are not restricted to humans.’

‘Better understanding can come when we try to understand anothers point of view.’

It has been a busy year for Ocean Roots with the release of their debut self titled album, a 12 track Sea Shepherd benefit album with a mix of atmospheric ocean inspired instrumentals by Mike Swallow and original acoustic/roots tracks with vocals by Vicky Bowes. Not to mention their first solo art exhibition at The Beaumont Art Gallery in Vancouver BC, a musical performance & art show at The Rhizome Cafe for the Under The Blue Horizon show organized by Wake Project, and 2 upcoming exhibits at Epic – a sustainable living expo in Vancouver & the International Marine Conservation Congress in Victoria BC in May.

The Sea No Evil Art Show is held each  year to raise awareness of oceanic  conservation needed through out the  world. It is a benefit for the Sea  Shepherd Conservation Society to  continue their aggressive campaigns to  end the illegal whaling in Antarctica, the  bloody seal hunt in Canada, dolphin  slaughter in Japan and illegal shark  finning in the Galapagos.

Celebrating their 5th year – The Sea No  Evil Art Show will be held on Saturday  June 25th at The Riverside Municipal  Auditorium in Riverside, California.  Doors open at 6:00pm.

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Ocean Roots Art @ Epic 2011

‘Surface’ The Dolphin Artwork Piece that appears in Ocean Root’s ‘On Our Way’ video will be on show at Epic 2011 at The Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver BC from 13-15 May.

Words taken from:

With a striking mountain panorama, miles of serene Pacific shoreline, and some of the most impressive urban green space on the planet, it is no surprise that Vancouver inspires a devotion to sustainability.

Vancouverites, including a diverse cross-section of organizations and businesses, are progressively challenging one another to make smarter, more forward-thinking choices. Their collective vision is designing a future for Vancouver as the greenest city in the world.

EPIC is your chance to share in this vision. Showcasing the latest styles and advances to break into the arena of sustainable living, EPIC promises to inform and inspire.

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