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Carey Chen has taken a natural talent and created an empire with his nautical art appearing on
clothing, wines, bags, towels, shorts, shower curtains, blankets, phone covers, bed sheets, mugs,
boat wraps and much more.
TEX T BY SANDY LINDSEY
C arey Chen has spent a lifetime on the ocean observing the
marine environment, attending fishing tournaments all over
the world, releasing 300 blue marlin and spending months
on the Florida flats fishing and observing the behaviors of snook,
tarpon, stingrays and sharks. “I’ve experimented with different
paints, different colors, different brushes and different canvases,
all the while keeping an eye out for new dimensions in detail and
painting every day,” he says. “As in any art form, a successful body
of work is small part inspiration, and large part perspiration.”
Chen was born in California and spent his formative years in
Jamaica until age 18 when political violence erupted in Kingston.
He then moved to Miami. “This was good fortune for me as the South
Florida fishing scene and easy access to great fishing locations
in the Caribbean and Central America provided me with fishing
adventures and experiences that I could translate onto canvas,” he
says. His work has graced the covers of over 400 magazines, and
can be found in both private collections and public spaces with a
focus on marine life. He’s also the featured artist for notable fishing
tournaments including the Puerto Rico International Billfish
Tournament, the Cayman Islands International Tournament, the
USVI Open Boy Scout Tournament, the Miami Dolphins Fishing
Tournament, and the Ocean Reef Club Sailfish Classic. In fact, this
avid tournament fisherman has won many such events.
Best of all, his laser-focus and dedication extends to his charitable
endeavors. “I truly enjoy teaching the younger generation about
ocean conservation and fish identification,” he says. As such, he
often contributes original artwork and his other branded products
to raise money for the charities supported by fishing tournaments.
“What it costs me is not much, but what it gives to the charities is a
lot,” he says modestly, sharing that one painting broke the record of
$60,000 in last year’s Ocean Reef Tournament. His unique skill and
vision have been acknowledged with numerous honors, including
an award for “Artwork, Wildlife Conservation & Education” by the
Florida Wildlife Commission.
Perhaps what is most impressive about Chen is that he’s had no
formal art instruction. So how did he become such a powerhouse in
the marine art field? “I’ve got a near photographic memory of the
behaviors of fish,” he says “When a fish jumps out of the water, I
capture it in my memory.” After 4 decades of observing the behaviors
of different species, he has amassed a catalog of fish images stored in
his head. “As I work on a painting, these images remain in my mind as
my hands quickly transpose the image from my brain to the canvas,”
he says.; CareyChen.com.