Meet a Judge: Ely German
November 2, 2018

Bow Seat Judges are artists, writers, teachers, filmmakers, scientists, and of course, ocean-lovers! Meet Ely German, a studio art major at The University of Texas at Austin, two-time student winner in our Ocean Awareness Contest, and now one of our Art Category judges.

What do you do when you’re not a Contest judge?
Art! Art takes over most of my free time. However, when I’m not arting, I like to spend time outdoors, I love going on hikes and paddle boarding on the weekends. I enjoy eating bagels with cream cheese and drinking Mate Cocido (an Argentinian tea). Lately, I’ve been reading The Arabian Nights; as a jew, I am particularly drawn to the Middle East.

What is your favorite thing about being a Contest judge?
I love seeing student’s artwork… it inspires me! Not too long ago I was in their shoes, making art nonstop with the hope to steer people towards a more environmentally conscious mindset. I admire these students’ passion to be the voice of our oceans!

What is your first memory of the ocean?
My earliest memories of the ocean are in the Pinamar beach of Argentina. As Porteños (people who live in Buenos Aires), we vacationed in Pinamar almost every summer before my teenage years. My favorite beach activity was to look for sea snails by the shore. I could spend the whole day doing this.

What or where inspires you?
Inspiration is everywhere! I am inspired by anything and everything that is around me, nature, conversations, smells, buildings, and humans. Curiosity tends to lead me to interesting work so I seek the things that make me wonder. The ocean intrigues me the same way that people are intrigued by outer space. The ocean is a deep mystery, it never fails to catch my eye and spark my curiosity, it’s my go-to inspiration supplier.


Who are some ocean artists, writers, thinkers, and activists that you follow?
I love looking at Sean Yoro’s work. He makes some beautifully rendered murals that emphasize nature’s power and beauty.

How do you think the arts and creative media can inspire awareness, empathy, and action for our oceans?
I believe it is still not too late to save the oceans. I am hopeful that the efforts of organizations like Bow Seat and Artists/Activists like myself are not in vain. I hope to see the normal mindset became greener, less wasteful. Art moves and inspires people, it the motor of change.

Ely’s animation “In Our Hands” earned a Gold Award in film in the 2017 Ocean Awareness Contest.

What are some ocean-friendly activities you do in your daily life?
Being ocean-friendly is easy, especially today! You don’t have to be doing some hardcore loud activism to make a difference (though you can!). Being environmentally conscious with little things is extremely impactful. Avoiding plastic containers, biking places, singing before and after you shower (not during), turning off lights when you are not in the room. These are simple and easy habits that can change the world!

What advice would you give to young people who want to protect the ocean?
Be conscious and tell your friends to be conscious, think about what your own small community’s areas of weaknesses are when it comes to being “green.” You don’t have to dedicate you life to protecting the ocean to make a change; focusing on your own household can be really powerful.

To see more of Ely’s work, visit

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Meet a Judge: Ely German