What Is Ocean-Aware's Mission?

Did you know that there are over 30,000 different fish species in the ocean? And that over 1000 of them are endangered or critically endangered? There are also over 1200 species that are listed as vulnerable. Combined, over 7% of all fish species are at risk.

The ocean is becoming uninhabitable to sea life due to the activities of humans. Garbage dumping, over-fishing, and oil drilling are just a few of the actions threatening many fish species. We must take care of our ocean before many of these beautiful creatures die and possibly become extinct.

Ocean-Aware shines a spotlight on the plight of endangered fish by integrating the patterns and colors of fish species into artwork which is then applied to home goods, accessories, and clothing.  By purchasing our products, you can help save the fish. When you buy an item, we donate a percentage of our proceeds to ocean conservation organizations and environmental non-profits.

You can purchase these items from Zazzle.com. An information tag is included with each product that shows a photo of each fish, its name, and where it lives.

About Founder Sheila Freeman

Sheila Freeman is an award-winning graphic designer and the owner of Fresh Design LLC, dba Freeman Design. She has been working in the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. area for many years, specializing in the creation of branding, packaging, and logo designs for corporate, government associations, and event clients.

The idea for Ocean-Aware came to Sheila while she was viewing photos of tropical fish. “I saw an illustration of a fish, but looking closer, I found it was actually a photo. They looked surreal and other worldly, as if they were living designs.” Researching further, Sheila found that the ocean is teeming with thousands of species of beautiful fish, each with its own distinctive markings and color scheme.

“I developed Ocean-Aware through seeing the stunning, unusual motifs and bright colors of tropical fish found around the world. As a designer, I could see how unique they are, and when I took those patterned images and placed them onto paper, they immediately looked like handmade artwork.”

Sheila developed her unique and inspired concepts by taking fish markings from photographs and using them to create richly colored and patterned designs. She then placed these designs on a variety of products that can be purchased online at Zazzle.com. A percentage of all sales are donated to organizations dedicated to ocean conservancy and saving marine life.

Sheila Freeman Founder of Ocean-Aware

About Photographer George "Keoki" Stender

Underwater photo of Photographer George Keoki Stender

George “Keoki” Stender, of MarinelifePhotography.com in Hawaii, provided all the underwater photography used to create the designs.

Keoki’s photographic journey began in 1990 while teaching fish ID classes to fellow Marine Option Program (MOP) students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The school’s slide collection was limited, so he taught himself to use a real camera and within a few dives was hooked on underwater photography.

Keoki contributes images to the Marine Option Program, Hanauma Bay as well as other educational programs. He sells stock images for local publications, calendars, and marine life books including Hawaii’s Fishes, Hawaii’s Sea Creatures, and Corals of the World. He also leads snorkeling expeditions for Oceanic Society.