Wildlife & Wild Places

New Ocean Ideas: Viewers’ Choice Winner Announced

Earlier this month, some of the world’s brightest young business leaders, artists, non-profit founders, and others participating in the Summit at Sea shared their ideas about how their various groups could help tackle the biggest problems facing the ocean.

After gathering more than 60 such ideas, we highlighted 15, and visitors to this blog were invited to vote for their favorites to name a Viewers’ Choice Winner.

Jane Kim at Olive-Route Design in Berkeley, California.

The results are now in, and the winner is Jane Kim, an artist and scientific illustrator who felt she could do the most by increasing the public’s emotional connection to ocean life. Jane proposed a series of large-scale paintings to be called a Migrating Mural, that would illustrate animals’ lives and journeys, particularly a year in the life of a blue whale, showing its journey on a series of paintings along the highways of coastal California. I called Jane to congratulate her and to learn more about the project and how it’s coming along.

What gave you the idea?

JK: It was actually one of those woke-up-one-morning-and-went-“whoa, you know what would be so amazing?” … I really enjoy wildlife first and foremost, and it’s one of those things that makes me feel like there’s a reason to be on this planet! I love migration, I love how it’s a part of even human history…and a story. I almost think of it as a narrative, and I was thinking as a visual person how great it would be to have the story to life-scale…To create a monument for animals as they endure a pretty incredible journey.

Original concept painting for a whooping cranes Migrating Mural.


How can you make the Migrating Mural a reality?

JK: Well, I have a few ideas. I’m working on putting my project on Kickstarter.com, and I’ve just been working on other ways to get funding…I’ve spoken with the Eastern Sierra communities to do a bighorn sheep Migrating Mural…It seems to be an idea that everyone would be able to stand behind, it’s just a matter of having the resources to do it…I would definitely need the permission of property owners [and would like the support of communities], definitely materials and help. It would be wonderful to be able to have other artists help me put these up.


Original concept painting for a bighorn sheep Migrating Mural.


How could community members get involved with such a project?

JK: I think it would be really amazing if down the road it could be a community-based thing: get kids involved, have it be something about the area as a whole. I certainly want to see it grow into something more than just an installation. It’d be great if it had a heartbeat of its own and continued and became an idea that evolved and changed into many different educational tools as well.

What are some other future projects you have in mind?

JK: Well, I love the idea of creating large-scale installations for the purposes of conservation, wildlife biology, and science…Ideas where I feel I can reach the largest amount of people as possible through one piece, and have it be about a very important issue.

Is there anything else you’d like to say about this experience as a whole?

JK: It’s so exciting, what a total honor.


To see more of Jane Kim’s artwork visit her websites:


We’ll also continue to follow her story here on Nat Geo News Watch as she brings the Migrating Mural to life. Thanks to all who voted and participated in the original contest.

All art and photos in this post are courtesy Jane Kim.




Andrew Howley is a longtime contributor to the National Geographic blog, with a particular focus on archaeology and paleoanthropology generally, and ancient rock art in particular. He is currently beginning a new role as communications director at Adventure Scientists, founded by Nat Geo Explorer Gregg Treinish.Over 11 years at the National Geographic Society, Andrew worked in various ways to share the stories of NG explorers and grantees online. He also produced the Home Page of nationalgeographic.com for several years, and helped manage the Society's Facebook page during its breakout year of 2010.He studied Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He has covered expeditions with NG Explorers-in-Residence Mike Fay, Enric Sala, and Lee Berger. His personal interests include painting, running, and reading about history.

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