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Marine artist, photographer and sculptor Chris Barela spent his formative years in Southern California. After ascending to the pinnacle of success in the world of competitive professional surfing in the 1970’s, Chris continues to derive pleasure from the ocean near his home and studio, located on the Big Island of Hawaii.Careful study and documentation of the marine life he observes first-hand enables Chris to sculpt magnificent undersea creatures, from the tiny seahorse to the impressive marlin.
Barela’s charming sea turtles evoke both the wisdom and playful demeanor of these sage elder statesmen who live beneath the waves. Chris often sees and films turtles from his surfboard, and says that every time is a special encounter that leaves him smiling. “Each turtle has a unique personality, and the way they cruise around at a leisurely pace is a reminder to us to slow down and enjoy life too. They definitely like to come around and check out the humans, see what we’re up to in their living room.”