A Muse Aquatic

A conversation with Oriana Poindexter

 

AlgiKnit: We’re so curious to find out: who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?

Oriana Poindexter: I work as a scientist and an artist, and in my free time I surf and free dive. I grew up in Laguna Beach, and moved down to San Diego in 2013. As a fisheries scientist, I split my time between the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center on the UCSD campus in La Jolla. As an artist, I make photographs both on land and underwater.

I’m so lucky to have the ocean be such a large part of my life. To be able to see, touch and smell it on a daily basis is an honor. The ocean is everything - a place of refuge, renewal, destruction, and mystical beauty.
— Oriana Poindexter

AlgiKnit: Your work largely revolves around marine life. Why is it so influential to you and what role has the ocean and its ecology played in your life?

Oriana Poindexter: I'm so lucky to have the ocean be such a large part of my life. To be able to see, touch and smell it on a daily basis is an honor. The ocean is everything - a place of refuge, renewal, destruction, and mystical beauty. It's the governing natural force of our planet, but so vulnerable to the abuse of human governance. I plan to spend the rest of my life getting to know it better, and continue trying to show others just how spectacular it is.

 
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AlgiKnit: What is the day-to-day life of a fisheries scientist like? Is working with fish in a controlled setting significantly different than in the ocean? And, what do you think about the future of fish farming?

Oriana Poindexter My job is a mix of computer work - research, report writing, data management - and visits to the fishing docks, processors, and even restaurants to collect samples from landed fish, and meet with people working along the seafood supply chain. We're lucky in San Diego to have an active commercial fishing community that is so open to working with scientists. Aquaculture is an area that absolutely needs more focus here in the United States - on a global scale, it's a necessity to feed the human population, but there's a lot of work to be done to figure out how to do it right.

AlgiKnit: How much overlap do you see between your work as a scientist and as an artist? Do you look at them as two separate things? Or, do they work together to form your career and creative vision?

Oriana Poindexter: Science and art for me are very connected. My subject matter / research focus / muse is the ocean and her inhabitants, which is really an infinite pool to draw inspiration from, both artistically and scientifically.

AlgiKnit: What does the future look like for you? Do you see yourself working with fisheries in the near future? Could you perhaps see yourself focusing solely on your art? Or, is there something you haven't done yet that you're looking forward to doing?

Oriana Poindexter: I'd love to focus my energy more squarely on producing art, but in the foreseeable future, I'll be keeping my day job! I do see myself continuing to work in the fisheries field, while I continue to evolve my artistic practice.

 
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Aquaculture is an area that absolutely needs more focus here in the United States - on a global scale, it’s a necessity to feed the human population, but there’s a lot of work to be done to figure out how to do it right.
— Oriana Poindexter

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Oriana Poindexter is an artist, scientist, free diver and surfer. Through her photography and multimedia art, as well as a strong background in marine science and conservation, Oriana is able to create meaningful and original work that resonates powerfully to the outside eye. To learn more about Oriana or to see more of her work, visit http://www.orianapoindexter.com/ or follow her on Instagram at @opoindex.