It’s 7 o’clock in the morning on Saturday. Bacon and eggs are sizzling, time to fuel up the family for a big day of beach fun! Kiddos are running around excited for a new adventure, mom and dad are busy packing up sandwiches, snacks, sunscreen, and other sundries.
You find the perfect spot to take in the spectacular scenery, sitting on your comfy beach chair, toes in the warm sand, peering out at Mother Nature’s wonder – the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s this wonder that first inspired artist Laura Birnbohm.
“I grew up with my family vacationing at the shore, appreciating the ocean and its many mysteries as a young girl,” she said. “I loved exploring the beach and looking for shells and critters. It felt like such a magical place! There are so many beautiful creatures that are greatly
misunderstood. My experiences as a child into adulthood have inspired me to share how beautiful our world and its inhabitants truly are.”
Laura has been exploring her fascination for South Jersey’s unique marine life for many, many years, and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology in 2012 from Stockton University.
“What a mesmerizing sight to see,” you think to yourself. “I wonder what amazing creatures are swimming around in the blue and green beauty.”
Laura’s passion for marine life brought her to a newfound career. She embraced her role at the Atlantic City Aquarium as a diver.
“As a diver, I would be immersed underwater with so many amazing animals from stingrays to sea turtles. Growing up loving The Little Mermaid, I couldn’t help but feel like all my dreams had come true being able to be ‘part of their world’ with all the fish! This influenced some of my mermaid paintings.”
From mermaids, to sharks, to tropical fish, Laura said she felt the need to share her love of marine life with the art world and beyond.
“I was an art major in high school, but have been creating art my whole life, selling my first painting in high school at an art show. While in college, I rarely painted. Not until I graduated from college did I pick painting back up. I began painting with acrylics, just recently transitioning my medium to watercolor two years ago,” she explained.
Laura said her hope, now, is to make a difference in the world, creating educational and thought- provoking artwork, combining her love for the ocean and all its inhabitants.
“The ocean is a magnificent place, but greatly misunderstood,” she said. “Through the use of acrylics and watercolors, I highlight the beauty that I see and cherish. With each purchase, I allow others to help preserve this vision, by donating part of the proceeds to marine conservation efforts.”
Laura’s dedication to animal care grew from her volunteer work at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center rehabilitating seals. She also spent time in South Africa on a Great White Shark conservation and research project.
“I have always found Great Whites to be fascinating, and greatly misunderstood. I grew an even greater respect for these beautiful animals while working and cage diving alongside them,” she said. “Part of my mission is to create awareness and a better understanding of the animals we know so little about on this earth.”
Laura’s mission has inspired her to create a retail brand of mugs and tee shirts as well, celebrating her appreciation for acclaimed artists.
“I grew up loving artists such as Wyland, and Guy Harvey. I loved wearing their unique artwork, and dreamed of one day wearing my own artwork. About a year ago, I finally started designing my own apparel and accessory line,” she said. “I have a Teespring shop with all available items with hopes to have my own store one day.”
Laura’s heart, she said, is right here in South Jersey.
“I have so much love for the Jersey Shore and Ocean City. It truly is my happy place. There is nothing like Boardwalk french fries, soft serve ice cream or some Johnson’s Popcorn. It is a must for that summer feeling.”
Right now, Laura’s work can be found on her website: msha.ke/laurabirnbohmart
And also on her social media accounts:
Plus, on Etsy: etsy.com/shop/
You can also check out her work on exhibition at popup galleries, festivals, and at the Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor and The Noyes Art Garage.