Written on July 25, 2011

Recycling Meets Fine Art


Los Angeles based artists Tara Berger and Jamie Perez, have found a very cool way of mixing their passion for the ocean, the arts and preserving the environment through what they call Ki’i Boards. We heard a lot about these two artists and the great acceptance their fine art pieces have had in their community. The positive message they send through this interview is a perfect example of how much we can do to protect the ocean and the environment if we apply our creativity to things. And how contagious it can be…
Please tell us a little bit about yourselves?

Tara: I’m a graphic designer by trade and have had a passion for food, art and photography my entire life. I consider myself kind of a Nomad. I currently reside in California and I love it.

Jamie: I grew up in LA and consider Maui my second home. I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t painting or drawing or singing or doing something artsy. I was never formally trained in the arts but inspiration and love are great teachers!

What sparked your interest in this cross between art and the environment?

Tara: It was a fluke – I had someone come up to me and ask me if I’d ever painted on a surfboard. She wanted me to do an art piece for her garden. I took the project and asked Jamie to help. We both decided at that moment that we could do this full-time.
Jamie: I did some research and found out that surfboards are incredibly damaging to the environment. They sit in landfills and don’t biodegrade. That’s when we decided we were going to do our best to rescue one board at a time and showcase our talent at the same time.

What is the message behind your art pieces?

Tara/Jamie: We think that the board itself is the message. You don’t need to toss the board in the trash. You can find a way to recycle it so that it not only beautifies your home but it can keep our planet a little bit cleaner.

Where do your ideas and inspiration usually come from?

Jamie: Everywhere! Sometimes the inspiration comes from the boards themselves. We will often create a design based on the shape and size of a board. We never think “that isn’t a good subject for a surfboard.”

What feedback and/or support have you gotten from your community?

Tara / Jamie: We have gotten amazing support. Our fans on Facebook have kept us going. It wasn’t until our recent showcasing at Surf 24 that we realized we were doing something great.  We had people who didn’t know us come up to us all day long. It was an amazing feeling.

How do you make all of this possible? For example, where do you get your canvass boards?

Jamie: In some cases we get them straight out of the trash. When we first started we were getting them on Craig’s list. Now people are giving them to us because they love what we are doing and want to contribute to a good cause. Please help us by donating your old surfboards!

Saving a whole surfboard from going to the dump is one of the biggest green practices that a lot of people should consider doing. What else is environmentally conscious around ki’i Boards?

Tara / Jamie: Rescuing a board is only part of our mission. We would love to use more environmentally friendly products. We are hoping to partner with companies that will provide us with materials such as paint and sealers that are less harmful to the environment. Our intention is to be as green as possible so we encourage support from other organizations that can make that happen.

So you take the “idea of green” to another level through your art, how does being green translate into your everyday life?

Tara: I’ve actually become more aware of what I do and what I eat. I’m trying to go paperless with my bills. I’ve started recycling more in my home and I think about how much is wasted at work all the time.  I try to reuse materials for art projects on a daily basis.

Jamie: Recycling and conservation have been important to me since the time I was a child. I know that is why, as an adult, I am so concerned with these issues. I believe it is essential to teach kids from a young age about the scarcity and importance of our planet’s resources. By incorporating art into that lesson, it makes it more interesting and personal.

Is there any help or specific type of support Ki’i needs right now and would happily take?

Tara / Jamie: lol- We have a dream of actually having a place in Hawaii called the Boarding House. We hope to one-day make that dream a reality. For now we would love people to donate boards and materials that are eco-friendly.  But the most important thing we need right now is for people to get the word out. Become fans. We have always said that we want to give back proceeds from our sales. The more we sell the more we can give back.

Last words, any shout outs?

Tara / Jamie: We want to thank you Oceanforce for thinking of us for this issue. To all our family and friends and to our new friends,Tanna Frederick (Project Save Our Surf / Surf 24) and the guys at Wave Tribe who donated an awesome board bag made of hemp and recycled plastic. We love them!  Thanks for supporting us. Mahalo!!!!

Please check out  www.kiiboards.com

Comments Off on Recycling Meets Fine Art

Categories Action | Tags:

You can follow any follow up comments to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Comments are closed.