Sharktopia is the artistic endeavor of coffee-loving, Ocean artist, Caiti Rose!
Hi everyone! My name is Caiti. I'm a coffee-loving, happy vegan, Ocean artist with the goal of altering the misconceptions surrounding sharks and other Ocean life. Thank you for visiting my little Sharktopia!
Born to Draw
I was born with Erb's Duchenne Palsy (nerve damage in the 5th and 6th vertebrae). This caused me to be unable to use my right arm/hand when I was born. Fortunately, I recovered partial movement after I turned one. I recently went through all the testing (at age 37) to determine whether or not the nerve damage persisted into adulthood. I'm happy to say that the nerve damage was healed (determined to be semi-permanent and most likely fully healed by age 4). Unfortunately, my right arm was kept in a sling (as a newborn). I'm not sure if it was used for two years or just the first year. This caused my right elbow and shoulder joints to not fully form.
Although there is no more lingering nerve damage from the initial birth injury - permanent limitations were created by that sling. I will always have limited mobility - my arm has never been able to bend straight nor be lifted straight above my head. Due to the restricted movement, I've spent a lifetime with various levels of pain in my shoulder/arm. These days I'm glad to say the pain is fairly minimal (or at least minimal compared to years ago). Yoga has helped me a great deal, along with using various methods to 'roll out' the constricted muscles.
I've spent my life adapting to that limitation. I'm mostly left handed (with everything) except for drawing. Though, I can draw or paint left handed if I want to! Part of my physical therapy (when I was 1-2 years old) was to have someone help me hold a marker in my right hand. I think this early form of 'art therapy' could be the reason I always pursued art. When I say I've been drawing for most of my life...I mean it!
Despite everything I've gone through, I wouldn't go back in time to alter anything. I've experienced a great deal that has made me who I am today. I'm living my best life and hope you are too. <3
When I turned 30 (in September 2014) everything seemed to 'click'. I saw the emotional connection my sharks have with the outside world. By October of 2014, after a deep conversation with my friend Katie, "Sharktopia" was born. Special thanks to Katie and her fam for all the encouragement. <3
Awareness and Conservation
Through my art, I raise awareness about harsh topics such as: shark finning, plastic pollution, bycatch, overfishing, etc. I've provided 100+ FREE coloring pages and booklets on my site to help spread the awareness even further. Dive in, swim around, create a masterpiece of your own, and help show the world that sharks are incredibly important!
I had a FINtastic Q&A Session with Sharks4Kids! Click here to read more: https://www.sharks4kids.com/post/2019/04/10/meet-artist-and-creator-of-sharkopia-caiti-rose
Food Empowerment Project was the first organization to interview me. This was - in fact - the first time I had ever been asked questions on camera (please be gentle and judge with that in mind)! We've collaborated on numerous coloring pages you can check out on my Downloads page. You can find this interview on F.E.P.'s youtube channel! https://youtu.be/7DGfCqhcd5E (Please take a moment to check out F.E.P.'s Fight4TheOcean page as well! https://foodispower.org/fight4theocean/
I dove into another interview with my friend Alyssa - Owner/Creator of Picto Kits! She's also the Owner/Creator of Regenerous Designs, which is one of the first small businesses I ever collaborated with to help raise funds for the non-profit Mission Blue (July 2015). You can find the interview on Picto Kits instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CRUY5pED6nb/
Shark Guardian has an artist-spotlight (month) - I had the honor of being featured in September 2021! It's always wonderful to chat with Liz (Co-Owner/Founder of Shark Guardian). We've collaborated on a lot of coloring pages as well and you can purchase my 'I'm not a monster' design through their shop! You can find the interview on Shark Guardian's instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CUP3CDEJfpN/
Random fun facts
I'm not 100% sure if I'm left or right handed due to how I was born. I could have been left handed since that comes naturally to me for most things, but I needed to use my right hand and arm once it began working. Therefore, I was taught to draw and write, right-handed. I'm 37 and it feels natural to write and draw with my right hand, but I can also draw left-handed if my right hand gets too tired. On a larger scale, such as painting a wall, I use my left hand/arm more often. :)
If I hadn't been so fascinated with sharks as a little kid, I might have ended up as a Paleontologist. I love finding Crinoid fossils on the beach! They wash up constantly from Lake Michigan. Jurassic Park is definitely one of my favorite movies!
I live in Racine, WI - close to Lake Michigan. I love walking in the woods, basking in the trees, standing in the sand, walking along the beach, jumping the waves, kayaking down the rivers, snowboarding down every hill, finding groves filled with moss, etc.
My love of sharks seems to have passed onto my little nephew. We share a love of popcorn and drawing. His favorite shark is the Hammerhead. My favorite happens to be the Basking shark. <3
I'm a huge Vincent Price fan and also love far too many bad B-movies! My brother and I text each other movie quotes whenever something comes to mind. "Stampede! Stampede, Earl!!" (Know the movie?) :-D
Donations allow me to continue focusing on the non-profit side of what I do; offering so many free coloring pages and activities to help spread the message of conservation and awareness around the world! Head over to my DOWNLOADS page to check out all the freebies!
To read more about making a donation, please head over to my DONATE page! Thank you for your support!