The Great Work : Shark Edition

In the last several years, it has become very apparent that many things must change immediately in order to prevent irreversible climate catastrophe. This can sometimes feel so incredibly overwhelming. This past year, I created a solo exhibition that discussed my own feelings and anxieties around this crisis combined with my conflicted desires around having my own family. What will that look like with such an uncertain future? What I found within the work was that despite embarking on the creative process in a dark place, hope and light was an unexpected yet consistent presence in the work.

Meryl Pataky ”In Spite Of Fear” glass tubing, phosphor, argon, mercury. 16 x 22 Inches. 2019. Edition of 10.

Meryl Pataky
”In Spite Of Fear”
glass tubing, phosphor, argon, mercury.
16 x 22 Inches.
Edition of 10.

Congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says that we must approach this issue with optimism, because “a realistic approach to solving the climate crisis requires optimism. We have no choice - pessimism will cost lives”. Instead of being overwhelmed, let’s try and think of ways that we can make a difference. I would like to contribute my skills towards helping people that are making a difference, one cause at a time.

While we do what we can individually and hope and fight for sweeping policy changes, it’s important to also focus on what we can do to help nature and animals that have already been affected by climate change and human behavior. Billions and billions of animals are killed or displaced each year due to humans’ capitalistic goals. A large portion of those animals are sharks.

An astounding 100 million sharks are killed each year for their fins and teeth, retribution culls when rare attacks happen and fisherman who purposely kill accidental shark catches on main lines. As apex predators, sharks play a critically important role in the ecosystem by maintaining the species below them in the food chain and serving as an indicator for ocean health. They help remove the weak and the sick as well as keep the balance with competitors helping to ensure species diversity.

Sharks are imperative to the ongoing health of our oceans. If sharks go extinct, it means bad things for us. When it comes to marine life, our existence depends on their existence. I felt I had to do something, the best way I can, to help those that help them. I don’t dive and have never done so with sharks (although now it’s on my bucket list), but I do make rad glowing stuff.


I am releasing a limited edition of 10 made-to-order neon sharks with 40% of each sale going to shark conservation organizations. I hope that you will find value in this project by supporting an artist, small business and, most importantly, organizations that do amazing scientific research in order to save various species of these essential animals.

They are not monsters. If they were, many more than 10 people a year would be killed. They are some of the most fascinating species on the planet, having needed little improvement since their first appearance 450 million years ago. Save Sharks. We must.

Contact for inquiries about this collection or submit the form below.

Organizations you will help :

One Ocean Research: Based out of Hawaii and run by Ocean Ramsey and Juan Oliphant. @oceanramsey and @juansharks

Sustainable Oceans Society: Run by Riley Elliott (seen on Shark Week) based out of New Zealand @thelifeofrileynz

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