#Behind The Scenes
JAMES CHUTER | Model Meets Artist
The beauty of London can be found in its cobblestone streets, iconic buildings and of course, the people. M1 Man and artist, James Chuter, paired his creative talents with ocean conservation charity, Project Zero, to help them bring awareness to our depleting oceanic life. In a brightly illustrated mural located on Little Marlborough Street in Carnaby, James has brought a school of the waters most beautiful and endangered creatures above ground for the public. In an interview with James, we found out more about his artistic work and environmental passions.
M1: How did you become involved with Project 0?
JC: Project Zero is an ocean charity committed to protecting 30% of the worlds oceans by 2030. Protected waters have seen natural ecosystems flourish and return to healthy levels after a few years. Their other main goal is to raise public awareness of the severity of the threat facing oceanic wildlife. We have already lost 90% of the oceans predators and over half of all coral reefs. They reached out to me to create a design inspired by the ocean. I have always loved being underwater, and find ocean life fascinating and incredibly inspiring.
M1: Have environmental issues always been a concern of yours? What made you take notice?
JC: Environmental issues have been a concern for sometime now, but it was only in the last year or so that I realised being concerned wasn’t doing much, and that small changes to my lifestyle and conscious choices in my consumer habits could help make a difference.
M1: What are the biggest threats to our environment in your opinion?
JC: In my opinion rising sea temperatures and the amount of plastic ending up in our oceans. Rising sea temperatures cause coral bleaching, which destroys the living breathing homes of 25% of all ocean life despite occupying only 1% of the ocean.
M1: When did you begin painting?
JC: I started painting walls and public spaces three years ago, while living in Sydney on Bondi Beach. The local council offer sections of the sea wall to artists and I thought it looked like fun. Since then i’ve completed nearly 50 walls in London, Sydney, New York, Barbados, in public spaces, bars, restaurants, hotels and for brand events and private parties.
M1: What can you tell us about your artistic approach to the mural?
JC: Project Zero asked me to come up with a design inspired by the Ocean. I wanted to show a coral reef bursting with life and colour, something that could easily become a thing of the past if we don’t work harder to save them. I chose mostly flat colours over shading and detail due to the size of the wall and the time constraints in finishing it.
M1: Just for fun, what are some of your most favoured sea creatures? Are they within the mural as well?
JC: I have always had a thing for sharks, ever since I first saw Jaws as a kid. I’ve been lucky enough to cage dive with Great Whites a few times and find them even more majestic having seen then them up close. I have wanted to paint sharks for a while, and this was the first time. Not sure I nailed the shark, so may have to do another piece including them again soon!
M1: What do you hope to achieve with the mural for Project O?
JC: I hope it reminds people that there is another world beneath the surface of the ocean that is unbelievably beautiful and also crucial to our survival on this planet, and that very slight changes to our consumer habits can have a huge impact on the health of the planet and its various eco systems.
M1: In your opinion, how important is it for models to use their platforms for special causes?
JC: I believe it’s important for everyone to talk about special issues, whether it’s the environment, mental health, discrimination or otherwise. We’re social creatures and if things such as single use plastic become socially unacceptable then we are more likely to see change.
M1: What are some things that the average person can do to help protect our oceans?
JC: Buy re-usable water bottles / coffee cups made using sustainable materials. Pressure supermarkets not to use so much unnecessary plastic, especially for fruit and vegetables. Vote with your wallet. Also pressure brands and politicians to take more responsibility. I think most can agree that the ocean is worth saving, but small actions can make a big difference. Most importantly be conscious of your consumption.
Keep up with James by following him over at @JamesChuter