Artist: Rosemary Connelli
I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in May 2018 from Green Mountain College, concentrating my degree in illustration and graphic design studies for cetacean conservancy. During my time as an undergraduate, I quickly became interested in combining science and artwork after designing an educational infographic on the endangered Southern Resident killer whales. Shortly after graduating, I launched my own visual communication business where I have had the privilege and honor to work with cetacean and salmonid organizations across the United States, Iceland, and British Columbia. By transforming scientific studies into artistic and educational content for the public, my dreams and passions are to help all audiences understand complex research through the power and aid of visual communications.
My current printmaking and graphic design studies are inspired by salmonid life cycles, river habitats, and restoration projects, as well as cetacean populations and relationships.
Art and activism matters to me because artwork can be a visual communication tool for communicating crucial scientific and political studies, such as restoring salmon populations, breaching dams, and saving endangered killer whale populations. Artwork can help bridge communication gaps, especially for individuals who are visual learners or have difficulty in understanding and reading complex studies.
Rosemary Connelli: Within You
2021, woodblock print, 14" x 11"
My woodblock print "Within You" features a pink salmon scale (left) and a human fingerprint (right) to show the interconnections and similarities between humans and the salmonid population.
After stumbling upon photographs of salmon scales in the fall of 2021, I noticed the similarities in human fingerprints to those of a salmon’s scale. Similar to human fingerprints, every salmon has their own identifiable uniqueness found within their scales. The following salmon scale I carved and found inspiration from is from a pink salmon.
From the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, all salmon have growth ridges within their scales, known as circuli rings: “This type of scale develops marks on it throughout the life of the salmon like the rings of a tree. A trained professional can use scale size, shape, and marks to determine the type and age of the salmon.”
The size and shape of circuli rings on a scale depends on each population, life patterns, and environmental variation. During the summer when more food is available, salmon grow faster than in the winter when food is less abundant. Because of increased food in the summer season and opportunity for the salmon to grow, the circuli is formed faster and is more spaced apart. With the winter season offering less food options, salmon will have decreased growth, thus creating circuli that are formed slower and are spaced closer together. Each ring is an indicator of a moment in a salmon's life, an identifier in understanding their existence, identity, and how intertwined their lives are within the environment.