Mason Schwacke

About Mason Schwacke

Based out of: St. Petersburg, Florida
Mason Schwacke is a St. Petersburg artist with a passion for illustrative designs that focus on a playful color pallet. He blends street art with contemporary designs to deliver symbolic messages applicable to all ages. His designs may be interpreted as an assemblage of vibrant colors and characters derived from his imagination, surrounding environment, and life experiences.
“Being that the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was heavily involved in the design process, I truly wanted to bring the scalloped hammerhead, giant manta ray, smalltooth sawfish, and whitetip shark to life with a vibrant, almost exaggerated color palette. It truly is nauseating that we are in a chapter of humanity where most people neglect what is going on in our seas and with nature in general. I wanted to create the composition that addressed serious issues while showcasing an optimistic glow. The small things that we can easily do in our daily lives hold the potential to amount to something so much larger than ourselves. Even if this piece turns a few heads, people look up the PixelStix info, open a few closed minds, I think it is worth every ounce of effort. Our children and our children's children deserve to have a healthy planet to grow on. Without our oceans, they will have nothing.” – Mason Schwacke

NOAA Fisheries is honored to sponsor the Protected Sharks and Rays mural for the 2020 St. Petersburg Arts Alliance’s SHINE Mural Festival which is being held in conjunction with the PangeaSeed Foundation’s Sea Walls Program. NOAA Fisheries’ Southeast Regional Office is, among other things, responsible for the conservation and recovery of threatened and endangered species as listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

This mural aims to highlight four species of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) that our agency protects. Each of these four species have skeletons composed of cartilage rather than bone and each face various threats from humans. Smalltooth sawfish populations have declined to the point the species is currently in danger of extinction. Giant manta ray, scalloped hammerhead sharks, and oceanic whitetip sharks are threatened species, meaning that if declines continue, they too will be in danger of extinction.

We very much appreciate local artist Mason Schwacke whose incredible design exceeded our vision. We look forward to sharing information on the plights of these 4 species with the public, in hopes of raising awareness and conservation. We are all stewards of the environment and this mural is an innovative form of outreach to inspire all to do their part.

Title: Prosperitas

Address: 1400 3rd St S

Building: Hawk Diesel

Installation Date: 2020