Under the waves, artist creates eerie murals that double as artificial coral reefs

Under the waves, artist creates eerie murals that double as artificial coral reefs

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii native Sean Yoro is a rising star in the art world. And he’s known not only his captivating art, but his unique canvases ― bridges, sheets of ice, vine-covered walls.

Yoro, who works under the alias “Hula,” now has a new project that’s attracting attention.

And the only way you’ll be able to see it is if you can find it ― underwater.

For the project called “Deep Seads,” Yoro installed artificial reefs in waters off the islands and then used special, eco-friendly pigment sticks to create captivating and eerie murals under the sea.

One big twist, in serious Yoro fashion: He created the murals while free diving.

Yoro certainly could’ve painted the murals above water and then installed them on the ocean floor.

But that would be too easy for an artist who has perched on the edge of a waterfall for one recent canvas or spent hours in frigid temperatures to create a mural on an iceberg.

No, to create his underwater masterpieces, Yoro first had to learn to free dive (Why not scuba dive? Yoro thought that would be cheating) and hold his breath for three minutes at a time.

When he started out, he could hold his breath for 40 seconds.

Months of training later, he was finally able to head out into the water ― and head down more than 20 feet to the ocean floor ― and start drawing.

In a video posted online, Yoro said that the seed for his underwater “Deep Seads” project started about a year ago, when he learned learn about the threats to marine ecosystems from global warming.

He decided to return to the islands to see the coral reefs of his childhood. And he quickly saw the changes: Fields of bleached coral where reefs used to thrive and barren marine landscapes.

His final project includes three original works.

One, “Lumens,” depicts a woman with closed eyes and a luminescent jellyfish floating by her face.

Another, “Breath,” shows a figure exhaling underwater.

And “Buried,” perhaps the eeriest creation of all, is just a blue eye peering out from seafloor.

“This was such a surreal experience for me,” said Yoro, adding that the project “stretched me past my limits both physically and mentally.”

But in the end, he said. “the path was worth it.”

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.