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SCUBA Diving Art: From SCUBA-Inspired Artwork to Pieces That Are Only Visible While Diving

Jason deCaires Taylor

Maybe today’s article topic sounds surprising to you: SCUBA diving art. Who would have thought of combining two such different aspects? But the truth is that sooner or later it was going to happen.

In the Stone Age, when Neanderthals still coexisted with Homo sapiens, they did not yet build houses, temples, or know how to cultivate, nor did they have transportation, and the wheel had not yet been invented. Tools were clumsy, but our ancestors already made art.

They molded statues of voluptuous Venus mothers, drew figures on walls giving them relief and movement, made engravings. We can bet they even made music.

Art is intrinsic to human beings, an elevated expression of the soul. There is art in everything that humans touch. How could there not be SCUBA diving art? After all, making art and inventing a machine to breathe underwater are things that only humans can do.

For once, we put aside the art of diving well – this blog is full of tips focused on it. Today we talk about SCUBA diving art in its two aspects: underwater art exhibition and divers’ art inspired in the ocean.

scuba diving art - buceo y arte - PangeaSeed-Foundation-2
PangeaSeed Foundation

1. SCUBA Diving Art Inspired by the Ocean

1.1. Ocean-Inspired Diving Art

Diving into deep waters is an amazing experience. Diving into the calm and warm waters of the Caribbean is even more so. Reaching the deepest part of the ocean with good SCUBA diving gear produces a sensation that is simply incomparable. Every sense of the diver is ecstatic in that environment. However, stimuli such as the taste of salt, the sound of bubbles or the freshness of the water, are soon relegated to the wonder of the landscape. The eyes are filled with new shapes, colorful fish, and coral reefs.

It’s no wonder that so much beauty inspires diver art. Images of SCUBA diving and photographs of the underwater world, paintings that reflect underwater treasures, and landscapes are typical examples of SCUBA diving art.

It’s also not surprising to want to remember the splendor seen underwater, which is why you see SCUBA diving decor adorning the walls of ocean lovers’ homes.

But there is much more SCUBA diving art than we think. We have found examples of surrealism that rely on SCUBA art, a house inspired by the Great Barrier Reef, and even coral reefs woven with eco-friendly natural fibers that are actually rugs: There is no doubt that the bottom of the ocean inspires diving artwork.

Rugs That Recreate Seabed
Vanessa Barragão

Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Greg Natale

Underwater Surrealism
Conor Culver

The photographer and diver Andreas Franke edits photographs of sunken ships, recreating terrestrial scenes using images of sunken ships as the backdrop. This is how he creates his “The Sinking World” composed of diving art pieces that he later exhibits both in on-land galleries and shipwrecks.

The graphic artist, Conor Culver, is famous for his diving art pieces known as Submarine Surrealism. His works are so amazing that they can bend your mind and challenge your perception. With his camera and skill, Conor captured the most incredible images of the underwater world and used them to create surreal and fantastic worlds that challenged everything we knew.

The PangeaSeed Foundation is an organization with a mission to raise awareness about the environmental issues affecting our oceans, focusing on four areas: sustainability, education, ecology, and design. They create impressive environmental, public, and educational murals worldwide with their project Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans. “We create environmental, public, and educational works of art placed to maximize community participation and awareness,” they say on their website.

1.2. Diver Art: Underwater Painting

Up until now, we’ve known artists who have been inspired by SCUBA diving to create art. But what if I told you there are SCUBA diving artists?

The SCUBA diving artist is the one who creates underwater. The greatest exponent of this type of artist is the one who creates underwater paintings with an inherent difficulty: in the depths, colors like reds, oranges, and purples fade away.

Zarh H. Pritchard

Although it may seem very novel, the truth is that underwater painting already has a 150-year tradition. Its precursor was Walter Holiwson Mackenzie Pritchard, who wanted to be a scientist and was very interested in the ocean world. However, he ended up designing costumes and sets for Sarah Bernhardt and her marine-inspired show. He spent 12 years painting for underwater sets before returning to the sea, changing his name to Zarh H. Pritchard, and becoming the first underwater painter in history.

André Laban

Since his participation in Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s Calypso team, André Laban stood out as an engineer and was a pioneer of diving. He developed the first underwater cameras used to film “The Silent World”, which won an Oscar for Best Documentary in 1956. He worked on the Cousteau Odyssey series and co-directed three films. Although it is true that cinema is a form of SCUBA diving art, Laban was still going to contribute much more.

Starting in 1966, he began painting his own underwater paints, which were internationally acclaimed and collected around the world. In 1996, he won the Palme d’Or at the Antibes World Underwater Image Festival for his film “Iris and Oniris”. In addition, a collection of his photographs produced between 1973 and 1983 was published as “One Bald Man”, released in 2007.

Andre Laban is a true pioneer who has been recognized in the worlds of cinema and underwater painting for his work in the SCUBA diving art world. With a canvas impregnated with chlorinated rubber and oil paint, André Laban created his artworks under the sea.

This is also how Alfonso Cruz works, an underwater painter from Terrassa, who even collaborated with Laban. Today, he is one of the world’s leading exponents of underwater painting, having painted the waters of Kenya, Cape Verde, Greece, Malta, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. Following the same technique as Laban, the Spanish artist applies oil paint with a small spatula to achieve expressionist diving artworks. His underwater paintings combine the heterogeneous and vital with the inert and monochrome. Each piece of art captures small corners of the marine macrosystem, rescuing the spirit of the depths and transforming his oils into doors to another dimension.

Other artists who stand out in the SCUBA diving art of underwater painting are Sandor Gonzalez, a Cuban artist, and Olga Nikitina, a Russian painter who was first a diving instructor.

Alfonso Cruz

2. Diving Artwork Exhibited Underwater

Who said that SCUBA art is only found in museums? Art is everywhere, even underwater! In addition to serving as inspiration in the early stages of the creative process, the ocean can also be a magnificent exhibition hall. Just ask Jason deCaires Taylor! This English sculptor has already opened several underwater museums. Taylor may be the foremost exponent of diving art sculpture today.

He is a committed artist who decided to build an underwater sculpture park to help economically revive the area devastated by Hurricane Ivan and draw attention to the fragility of nature. He created the museum in Granada in 2004 with 70 sculptures, and his most famous diving artwork is “Vicissitudes,” which depicts a group of children holding hands.

Since then, he has created more than a thousand sculptures and installed large underwater museums in different parts of the world. So, if you’re into SCUBA diving art, deCaires’ work is a must-see! And if you want to add some SCUBA diving decor to your home, check out his SCUBA diver pictures, pictures of SCUBA diving, SCUBA diving paintings, and other SCUBA artwork.

2.1. Underwater Museums for SCUBA Art


At the eastern end of Cyprus’ coast lies a place called Ayia Napa, which has become one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations since the summer of 2021 thanks to its SCUBA diving art museum, known as MUSAN. Among its sculptures, trees weighing up to 13 tons, plants, and humans coexist in harmony to teach divers the importance of respecting the environment.


The Atlantic Museum of LANZAROTE is located 14 meters underwater and displays 200 sculptures loaded with symbolism, such as businesspeople playing on a swing or a couple taking a selfie, and even figures half cactus and half-human, reminding us of the union between man and nature.


The world’s largest underwater sculpture, Ocean Atlas, weighing over 60 tons and standing over 6 meters tall, can be found in Nassau, Bahamas. It was created by deCaires to symbolize the burden that the seas bear because of human actions.


In Cannes, near the southern coast of Île Sainte-Marguerite, lies the Écomusée Sous-Marin. The overfishing in the Mediterranean is the theme that inspired the SCUBA diving art that can be seen there, including six sculptures that depict faces ranging from two to five meters deep.

scuba diving art - buceo y arte - Jason-deCaires-Taylor-2
Jason deCaires Taylor


The Side Underwater Museum in Antalya, Turkey, has 110 figures inspired by the War of Independence, spinning dervishes, a flower garden, a camel caravan, and the temple of the sea god. The shallower ones can be visited while snorkeling.


MOUA, the Museum of Underwater Art in Townsville, Australia, is the only underwater art museum in the southern hemisphere. There, Jason deCaires Taylor has created a “Coral Greenhouse,” where the structures and statues are designed to be absorbed by the reef, which will use them as pillars until they, finally, become part of their environment. There are 20 statues based on schoolchildren who must learn to attend, care for, and protect the reef.


In Cancun, Mexico, there is an underwater art museum with over 500 life-sized sculptures created to regenerate the marine ecosystem and recover coral reefs. These SCUBA diving art works were not all created by Jason deCaires Taylor, who, of course, contributed to the project, but also include works by Mexican artists such as Karen Salinas, Roberto Díaz Abraham, Rodrigo Quiñones Reyes, and Salvador Quiroz.

Diving art is a human activity, from the inspiration offered by the ocean and its wonders to the creation of underwater museums. The beauty of the ocean floor continues to inspire humans and foster creativity in all its forms. Now it’s your turn, tell us, what do you think of SCUBA diving art?