Sean Yoro paints portraits that have an expiration date by design.
His creations have previously graced remote waterside walls, barely escaping the waterline, and icebergs in Iceland, which have likely melted by now.
The latest project – called “Puliki,” or “to embrace” in Hawaiian – was even more precarious: sketched with natural chalk and water on the burnt bark of trees, it’s already been washed away by the first rainfall.
The artist, also known as Hula, is based in New York City but is originally from Hawaii: “I grew up on Oahu, where I was surrounded with everything nature had to offer,” he told CNN. “The ocean was my playground and art didn’t enter my life until my later teenage years.”
“Puliki” is designed to send a message about climate change, droughts and deforestation: “When I saw first hand the devastation of the recent wildfires, I knew I had to incorporate the trees into my art,” he said.
The piece was done in the Pacific Northwest, in an unspecified location “due to legal precautions,” says Yoro: “I had scouted a lot of forests in the past couple months and I wanted to choose a location that was impacted heavily by drought and wildfires.”
Yoro is a tattoo artist and a surfer, and some of his previous projects involved painting his portraits from a floating board.
Why portraits? “One of the exciting things about painting portraits is being able to bring life and emotion to objects and surfaces that were once without. Also these figures just seem to match with the moods. A mysterious surreal combination,” he said.
The goal is to ignite a sense of urgency about climate change: “My hope is that people will embrace and protect our trees and even more importantly, our planet. It is important now more than ever to try to circulate positive environmental messages through art in order to combat the recent oppression of climate change research,” he added.
“I worry that we have taken for granted our natural world and if we wait any longer the negative effects will be irreversible.”
Browse the gallery below to see Hula’s previous artworks: