Meet a Judge: Ely German
August 4, 2020
Bow Seat’s Ocean Awareness Contest judges are artists, writers, environmental scientists, historians, marine educators, poets, filmmakers, composers, science communicators, and classroom teachers. Meet Art Judge and Bow Seat alumna Ely German through this conversation with our Intern Akhila Bandlora.
What’s your name? And what do you do?

My name is Ely German. I’m an artist, and I’m studying at University of Texas at Austin. I’m a studio art major, and my focus is in print, photography, drawing and painting. I do installation, animations, murals, and illustrations.

What has been bringing you joy creatively or otherwise?

So many things. I really like nature. So, anything that involves nature, whether it’s hiking or doing yoga outside. Yesterday, I just rode my bike to a big park and just zoned out for an hour, looking up at the trees.

What work have you done that you’re most proud of?

I’m most proud of my murals because that’s the kind of work that takes the most depth and just literally sweat to make. Specifically, I made this mural on a basketball court. It was being commissioned, so I wanted for it to still be my art but also please the person that’s paying me. It turned out well because I ended up being able to pitch her this blue design with these two waves. I did it in the middle of the summer, so it was a mixture of I’m so happy and I’m like on the floor, on concrete, every day just pouring this paint. It’s so hard, but it’s so good.

That’s so cool! I’ve never heard of murals being painted on basketball courts.
How would your loved ones describe you in three words?

Passionate, disoriented, and easy to make laugh.

I love those descriptions.
Why do you think imagination is important in crises?

It can bring you so much joy. A crisis can be so dark and isolating, especially now. I think being able to picture something better gives you hope. As an Ocean Awareness Contest judge, whenever I’m looking at the positive work that kids create, it helps put the bad things into perspective, like it’s an opportunity to get to this beautiful place that we can imagine.

I really like that answer. I’ve been thinking a lot about joy, especially relentless joy, or how we persist to be happy, even when things are really hard.
What in your opinion do you think is the role of art in the environmental justice movement?

For all movements, I think art is a form of communication. So to your question and to art, I would say, what’s the point of giving a speech? Or what’s the point of communicating? If we don’t express our ideas, how are we supposed to get on the same level or make decisions or educate people? It’s sort of the base of the pyramid in order to create change: you have to talk about things. I took this oceanography class at UT, and the main takeaway of the class was if you really want to create change as individuals, the biggest thing you can do is just talk about it. And art is just a medium to do that. We’re visual animals.

What’s your favorite local community organization that deserves more attention and money than it gets?

Austin Conservation Project.

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Meet a Judge: Ely German

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