Hyperrealistic Marine Life Portraits Highlight the Ocean’s Incredible Biodiversity

Ocean Biodiversity Paintings by Zoe Keller

There is an abundance of life underwater that we rarely have a chance to see and appreciate. That is why Portland, Maine-based artist Zoe Keller is giving these diverse creatures a stage in her series titled Ocean Biodiversity. From octopus to starfish to jellyfish, the breadth of marine life is captured in her detailed digital depictions.

“I am fascinated by the dizzying array of lifeforms that we share this planet with,” she tells My Modern Met. “I love learning how a species has evolved to fit within its specific ecological niche, and how organisms are tied together in such intimate ways within a particular ecosystem. I also feel a great sense of urgency, living during the sixth mass extinction, to help tell the stories of those species that we stand to lose.”

Keller was inspired to create Ocean Biodiversity after she was approached by the PangeaSeed Foundation, who wanted her to contribute prints that raised awareness about biodiversity loss. “Most of my work so far had focused on the terrestrial biodiversity of North America, so I was eager to take on the challenge of learning about and depicting marine subjects,” Keller explains. “Some of the most incredible, dream-like, alien creatures on Earth live below the waves. I have had an amazing time building this Marine Biodiversity Series in partnership with PangeaSeed.”

Each of these pieces features an arrangement of unique underwater species floating against a dark background, their idiosyncrasies on full display. “I am hoping that my work can introduce people to new species, and inspire them to see the beauty in traditionally maligned creatures, like snakes and bats,” she continues. “Perhaps my greatest hope is that my work will inspire people to move more slowly and to look closely at the world around them; if you look at any bit of nature long enough you will find magic.”

Keller's art will be on view at the Antler Gallery in Portland, Oregon in June 2022. You can purchase prints via Keller's online store, and keep up to date with her latest work by following the artist on Instagram.

Maine-based artist Zoe Keller creates exquisite portraits of marine life.

Ocean Biodiversity Paintings by Zoe Keller Ocean Biodiversity Paintings by Zoe Keller

These works are part of a series that raises awareness of biodiversity loss.

Ocean Biodiversity Paintings by Zoe Keller Ocean Biodiversity Paintings by Zoe Keller Ocean Biodiversity Paintings by Zoe Keller Ocean Biodiversity Paintings by Zoe Keller Ocean Biodiversity Paintings by Zoe Keller

Zoe Keller: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Zoe Keller.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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