Vanessa Albury / Coral Projects

Vanessa Albury is an eco-visual artist, Akashic Records reader, and self-love coach living and working nomadically. She is the Founding Artist and Director of Coral Projects, creating the world’s first underwater eco-friendly art exhibition globally to rewild filter species in the oceans. Albury has an MFA from NYU and is the 2022 NYFA/ NYSCA Deutsche Bank Fellow. Originally from Nashville, TN, Albury called NYC home until July 2023. Just like water, she now flows throughout the world, healing the human-ocean dynamic.

Seahorses, Coral Project

What about the ocean speaks to you as an artist and creative professional?

As an artist, my job is to experience, to feel bravely, even the feelings I’m afraid of or judge, and to synthesize this learning into what I create. Through the creation and the art object, I speak to and with my fellow humans without words but with emotions and visual language. When I’m living my best life as an artist, I also get to collaborate with nature consciously, creating eco-friendly sculptures for new sea life to grow upon and thrive. For me, this contribution to the healing of the human-ocean relationship and it lights me up!

Camera Obscura, Kjerringoy

What is your view on the role of art in activism, and how do you aim to create impact through your work? 

I realign my art practice with my ethics through eco-art. I will one day live in full harmony with my only home, planet Earth. That’s my North Star.

As Coral Projects, I create underwater, ocean-friendly, and eco-friendly (because those are two different things) contemporary sculptures to support the repopulation of filter species in the world’s waterways. I work with fellow under-represented artists and marine scientists. We site the first permanent eco-installation of Coral Projects in September 2023 in the Ionian Sea off the coast of Southern Italy. This work is the subject of a documentary film we are making too.

My ceramic eco-sculptures are inspired by the moment a film burns in a projector’s light and interrupts the narrative. I draw a parallel from that visual rupture, which is also very beautiful, to the needed interruption in our consciousness and way of living in relation to the environment. We need a fast and undisputable shift or break in our collective consciousness to inspire new actions now.

Burned Out Film Awakening Aquarium (Seahorse and Coral Aquarium at The Explorers Club)

Your projects span an impressive array of mediums and artistic approaches, ranging from photography to sculpture to film. What is your relationship with these different mediums, and how does that relate to creating impact across diverse audiences? 

When you embody your art practice, it doesn’t really matter what medium you have in your hands. I’m going to express the same ideas, just in different forms. My approach is always the same. I’ve always been intrigued with images and how images impact how I relate to who I am and who you are. I love what makes images, the materiality of the image. I play with that curiosity in film, sculpture, photography, performance, installation, and so on.

It doesn’t really matter to me what I use; it’s about the message through the medium, the location of work, and it has to be an eco-friendly medium, or at least advancing what eco-friendly is within a medium. Actually, the milieu of the work home is a big factor in what I make.

Burned Out Film Aquarium

Traveling seems to play a significant role in providing inspiration for your work – can you share an experience that influenced a specific project or your outlook on artivism more broadly? 

In the space of travel, I learn who I am and what it is to be human. In the slight difference in the way trash smells in different countries or the way the subway tunnel is curved instead of squared, I learn who I am in relation to the planet. All of my work exists in the space of being in the world.

I learned there is no such thing as “throwing away.” Everything lives with us always; even if it’s not in your room, it’s still in your home, the planet. So we need to dispose of and create EVERYTHING with that awareness. There is no good reason for a single-use diaper to outlive eight generations of a family, right? We have to rethink everything and sacrifice what we think we need to do for what is really the next level of alignment from our deeper knowing of who we are. Never go against your heart’s ethics.

Arctic Future, Relics Floating

Can you share a particular project or campaign that you are most proud of or one currently underway that our audience might be able to support?

Coral Projects has my heart entirely. I dream about it. I’ve even woken up in tears trying to understand the next step. It’s a great teacher and my greatest gift.

There are three ways you can directly contribute:

1) Buy a Sea Coin! They are $500, and they are an energetic cleanser of your personal human-ocean relationship. It’s like a shipwreck coin, but that heals. Message me for yours.

2) Contribute as an investor to our Indiegogo campaign. This campaign supports the initial siting and filming in Southern Italy. With this initial siting of the world’s first eco-friendly underwater art exhibition, we will generate a short film and continue to film for the feature. The exhibition is titled Rewilding a Painted Ocean. Anyone or company that contributes $25,000 or more will get executive producer credits. We also have levels of support for individuals at all income levels and perks that include art, NFT’s and seeing your name on the big screen in our thank you’s. Our Indiegogo campaign is linked here. 

3) Donate via our fiscal sponsor for US-based tax-deductible donations.

Coral Projects, Underwater Lab

What is the one takeaway message you would like audiences to leave with after viewing any of your work?

Every little shift and step you take to greening your life matters. Not only do you matter, but so does each little action you take. NOTHING goes unaccounted for. From each square of tissue with which you wipe yourself, to the plastic you consume to the vehicle you drive. So, every day, make a choice to shift to harmony with the planet. Be that via buying bamboo toilet paper from a black-owned company like Lor Tush or Reel (sold at Target) or taking the time to recycle the fabric of clothes you don’t wear anymore instead of putting them in the landfill via your trash can.

Each time you put just a little more attention and care into your consumption, you change the course of humanity’s trajectory on the planet. Each time you spend your money on healing for the planet, you shift the entire paradigm of what it means to be human on Earth, our only home.

Changwon, Sketch

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