From art to artificial reefs

Jason de Caires Taylor displays his artwork in a rather unconventional gallery.

I’ve been haunted by his underwater sculptures (in a good way) since I saw pictures of them in the Guardian a while back. And I recently grabbed the chance to interview him for the Naked Oceans podcast. Jason told me all about how he designs his sculptures – mostly casts of real people – to encourage sealife to engulf them, transforming art into artificial reefs.

The idea is to give natural reefs a better chance of recovering from human and natural disturbances by luring scuba divers away from them. And Jason’s work comes with powerful messages about the relationship between people and the oceans.

Many of his sculptures incorporate nubbins of coral broken off by storms. For his newest work, storm-damaged gorgonian seafans will lend the sculptures a dynamic element as they move and bend in the current.

With none of the controversy that surrounds decommissioned oil rigs as artificial reefs, Jason’s work is undoubtedly more beautiful and thought-provoking.

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