With the help of WEND magazine and in support of 5 Gyres Chaco sponsored an art contest. This contest was meant to encourage fellow creatives to do something about the plastics in their community. We are stoked to announce that out of 115 entrants, all of which were absolutely outstanding, we have a WINNER! Congratulations to Nastassja Pace! Due to the win, we asking Staj to write up some comments on what inspired her piece and who she is …so read on for more good ju-ju!

Thoughts behind creation of this piece…

Plastics are ubiquitous. From medical advancements to cutting-edge technology, plastics play a vital role in today’s world. However, ever-increasing consumptive habits and hasty life styles have led to one of the greatest environmental catastrophes of our time: single-use plastics. Throw-away products, containers and plastic bags find their way onto the streets, stuck in bushes, filling ditches and clogging storm drains. Many of these plastics end up in our waterways and eventually our oceans entangling, poisoning and causing starvation among marine wildlife and threatening delicate ecosystems. Every time I walk on the beach or surf in the ocean I witness plastic debris accumulating and breaking down into fragmented pieces; too small and too many to clean-up, yet not small enough to actually go away. As plastic floats in our oceans, builds on our beaches and integrates into our sands, I wonder what legacy we will leave behind?

Gaining motivation from this question, I chose to paint a wave with plastic bags making up the wave crest and white wash to highlight the icon of plastic litter, while illustrating the enormity of plastic pollution and the affects it is having on our oceans.

About Staj:

Raised in the mountains of southwest Colorado with a dubious dream of becoming a beach girl, Nastassja finds balance in soggy Portland, Oregon. After graduating from Lewis & Clark College with a degree in Art, she ventured to Central America to give her earlier aspiration a try. One year later Nastassja realized her home was in the Pacific Northwest, but not before she found solace in surfing and scouring the sand for plastic remains. Bringing her plastic-eliminating passion back to the states, Nastassja developed camaraderie with the Surfrider Foundation where she now serves as Chair for the Portland Chapter and volunteers tirelessly to raise awareness, fight plastic pollution and ban single-use plastic shopping bags. On the side, Nastassja works full-time coordinating volunteers and watershed restoration projects with Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation while still finding time to make art, plant mobile gardens, rock climb, and frequently make the hour and half bike commute to work.

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