Hello All-
This is my first blog entry with ECOBAGS, but I am no virgin to the blogging world. I like to express my own opinions on the blog Two Dirty Olives, attempting to give my two cents on the world. If you wish to be a little corrupted, please give it a visit.

I’m writing today to tell all about something ECOBAGS and I are very proud of. To fully explain what that is, I need to bring everyone up to speed.

I grew up spending the summers at my family’s beach house on the Gulf Coast in Alabama, digging holes in the ‘sugar sand’, fishing, & surfing the little waves the tame Gulf brings. On long, hot summer days from then to now, I’d walk for miles picking up ocean debris (mostly plastic) while appreciating the salt filled air. It was very different than the great California coast where I spent most of time in college, eventually graduating from CSULB.

I’ve spent a lot of time near, in and on the ocean. Three years of my life were devoted to being a kayak guide for Santa Barbara Outfitters, showing patrons what the Channel Islands National Park was all about (picture above). After my first trip out (a 1 hour ferry on a bio-diesel powered catamaran — Island Packers), I fell in love again with all that the ocean offered. I sparked interest in people who never conceived the sheer diversity, complexity and integrity the ocean possesses. I would marvel at gatherings of starfish on the volcanic islands, mile-long kelp forests, whale migrations, and the hundreds – if not thousands – of other miracles that are being protected out there. To say the least, I would fit in if the world really became ‘Water World,’ like the Hollywood drama. Hopefully I’ve got you salivating.

My wife, Kelly, and I spent a lot of our time appreciating the arts, especially the local artist festivals up and down the southern California coast. One day in Huntington Beach we were lucky to stumble into a stall where Joshua Serafin was showcasing his work. If you’ve never experienced it before, I suggest you look at his website: Art by Serafin. He is well known in Southern California for his surfers that he does.

After a lovely conversation we had with him, compelled we became; so we bought a beautiful print of his work titled “Off the Lip II”. We had it framed and it has sat on our mantel for the past few years. I even bought my mom a large print of pelicans that Josh did. She lovessss pelicans. Now let’s fast forward to early spring 2009.

ECOBAGS and I began introducing our Art on Canvas series, highlighting fine/graphic artists by printing their works of art on our Canvas Totes Bags. We went a step further by offering to donate a portion of the proceeds to the artists’ choices of charities. It has become one of ECOBAGS’ opportunities to give back to our community.

Our first project was one of John Urbain’s work, which happened to be the last project he did before he passed. John has been a lifelong friend of my family and it was a very special opportunity to give my form of respect to his work and family by offering his work in another medium, to people who might not have experienced his gracious strokes before.

My next thought, in the decision to do a series of artists, was to highlight the very artist whose painting I see every morning, Joshua Serafin. We will be doing 4 different prints and the first to be released is none other than his famed surfer print, “Into the H20.” The next three will be staggered throughout the year, highlighting different themes. The “Into the H2O” bags will premiere at the Orange Coast Magazine – VIP event next week, July 29th, in Laguna Beach CA. ECOBAGS will donate a portion of the proceeds of each Serafin bag sold to The Surfrider Foundation.

Things have come full circle for me with this project. I am giving back & supporting the very thing that I have spent so much time in my life appreciating. I have found this to be a very fulfilling and rewarding project. I thank Sharon Rowe, our CEO and Founder, for supporting this cause, Andrew Dyer for helping compile the artwork, Melissa for tying the The Surfrider Foundation tags on the bags during a hot Monday afternoon, Ellen Ornato for getting this bag into this great event next week, and the rest of the staff for supporting the project. I look forward to bringing you all more great projects such as this.

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