MSC Ocean Ambassadors: Surfer and artist Felicity “Flick” Palmateer
Every year, MSC Oceania runs the Australia-wide Sustainable Seafood Day. In 2015, the team took to the sea, the streets and social media with their #ForTheSea hashtag and the help of advocates from all walks of life. Explorers, researchers, health practitioners, athletes joined to celebrate how choosing sustainable seafood can help keep our oceans healthy. One of these ‘Ocean Ambassadors’ is pro surfer and artist Felicity “Flick” Palmateer, who has also been involved in June’s World Oceans Day. The Oceania team caught with her to talk about her involvement and her love of the ocean.
How did your involvement with the MSC come about?
I’ve surfed most of my life, so I’m constantly in the ocean and always inspired by it and the creatures that inhabit it. A lot of my art is inspired by the sea. I want to help preserve the oceans so future generations get to see and experience what I have, or better. So collaborating with the MSC and encouraging people to choose certified sustainable seafood is a way of helping.
Tell us about the mural you painted at Bondi Beach for World Oceans Day
The green sea turtle and humpback whale are two of the earlier paintings I’ve done and people really love them, especially the turtle. We had a great space to work with, it was really large so I figured doing big versions of each would work well. The other art along the beach is quite busy, a lot of graffiti, so I figured a white background would give a cleaner finish, helping the whale and turtle pop. Plus we needed to include the messaging and MSC hashtag so it was important to make those visible. The link between the sea and the animals is obvious.
How would you convince someone who has never seen the ocean that it is important?
With so many people relying on fish as a food source, that is reason alone for us to consider preservation of the ocean important, it’s vital.
You are a pro surfer but also an exhibited painter and ceramicist, how does your time in the water influence your art?
I’m in the water nearly every day, it’s constantly changing, I use water colour and inks because it best represents the fluidity of the ocean.
The ceramics I exhibited in at my first solo art exhibition in Paddington and Margaret River, were inspired by the West Australian coastline where I grew up and started surfing. I chose the colours based on the colours I see when I think about home.
What would your advice be for young people wanting to make a difference at their local breaks?
I think “think globally, act locally” is a great, powerful slogan or mantra. So with that in mind, understand that your actions always have an impact and you can make the choice between positive or negative actions and outcomes. Be concerned, be mindful. Know that everything you do affects the bigger picture.
Header image of Flick Palmateer and mural © JJ Jenkins
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