Inspired by her coastal surroundings, California-based artist Marissa Quinn creates enchanting illustrations of whales. Each whimsical work of whale art features highly imaginative iconography that places the calm creatures in surreal, dream-like scenes.
Using black ink, Quinn realistically renders each creature in exquisite detail. This meticulous approach to her subjects showcases both her unwavering admiration for the animals and her undeniably impressive knowledge of their anatomy. While the whales themselves are lifelike, various elements of each drawings are not. From entire worlds that seemingly sprout from the animals’ backs to impossible interactions with helpful honeybees, the subject matter explored by Quinn is aesthetically fascinating and conceptually original.
Quinn currently calls Encinitas—a seaside city in Southern California—home. This fitting location allows the artist to personally explore her subject matter and transform her observations into inventive ink illustrations. Though she employs a myriad of ocean-dwelling animals as her muses, she most often portrays humpback whales, which she views “as symbols of ancient wisdom or keepers of Earth’s collective memories.” Beautifully depicted as powerful yet peaceful creatures, the gentle giants capture the elegance and spiritual energy of Quinn’s captivating practice.