Dive Right In: ‘Ocean Artist’ offers art classes in La Jolla Shores

Taking advantage of the quiet winter months in the ocean recreation industry, Sea Cave Kayak in La Jolla Shores will house the ArtBioZoo art studio this winter at 2164 Avenida de la Playa. Everthing from children’s birthday party classes to BYOB art-and-wine sessions will be offered evenings and weekends by appointment through March.

Sea Cave Kayak instructor and elementary school art teach Robb Daly will lead the classes, often with his dog Buford by his side. “All the kayak businesses here do really well in the summer, but in the winter, we get to the point where we’re just doing two or three tours a week and it isn’t worth staying open. I thought it made a great opportunity to expand the art classes I already teach,” Daly said.

For the past nine years, Daly has had a mobile business called ArtBioZoo. He takes live animals to parties or schools, where he engages the children in art projects. He also conducted enrichment activities at Birch Aquarium and taught high school art at Madison High School. He was recently certified as an elementary school art teacher, traveling from school to school to provide one day of art instruction a month. He’s also led kayak tours in La Jolla Shores for the better part of 15 years.

“I’m an ocean athlete and an ocean artist,” he explained. “One of my life goals is to teach as many people as possible that anyone can make good art. Whether you’re born with art abilities or learn them, everyone can make good art. It may be sculpture or painting, but there’s an art form anyone can excel at. When children are little they love to make art and then something happens around middle school, and they start to think they can’t draw and can’t do art.

“That sticks with them through their adult lives. If I can get someone in here and prove to them they can make beautiful art, that is really rewarding. I get more out of that than making my own art.”

An example of the fish printing and ornament making set up at the ArtBioZoo studio. Ashley Mackin-Solomon

With that philosophy, Daly offers mixed-media sculpting, ornament making, original painting, recreating famous paintings and Gyotaku (fish printing). “With Gyotaku, you can paint a mold or an actual fish and lay paper down over it to get an image that includes the scales, finds, everything,” he explained. “The kids love it. But, I’m working my way to more adult classes, and that’s where the art studio comes in.

“I want to help people let go of their inhibitions and give creativity a chance. That’s the biggest problem I see with adults, they think they aren’t good at it. But when they see what they can make with good instruction, it opens their minds to a whole new skill set they didn’t know they had. It’s a beautiful thing to see happen.”

Because Daly is still an elementary school teacher, class times are limited to after 4 p.m. and weekends. The Kayak business re-opens April 1, at which time the schedule may change.

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