Mural on iceberg
Yoro standing in back of his A’o ‘Ana ice mural. (Photo: Courtesy of Hula Studios)

Balancing on a paddleboard, Sean Yoro weaves between Arctic ice floes. Cold water swirls around him as he searches for the perfect piece of ice.

When he finds it, he hops on top, takes out brushes and paint, and quickly gets to work. Soon the image of a woman’s face emerges. It looks like she’s asleep on the ice.

Yoro: “I’ve sacrificed so much for a lot of my pieces. I’ve been hurt on a lot of these projects, and it doesn’t stray me far from my goal ever.”

Yoro, who is also known as “Hula”, has combined his passions for art and surfing. From his board, he paints murals in hard-to-reach areas. He’s painted on icebergs and ice floes in the Arctic. The art is fleeting. The woman’s profile melted with the ice. But it speaks to the urgency of climate change.

Yoro: “You kind of felt the need to help her as she just melted into the water. It was almost like she was drowning.”

Few people will see his art, so he has a photographer document it.

Yoro: “I kind of got used to my pieces having this life span. It’s almost a meditative thing where I create the piece and have it for that moment before I’ll let it go.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

Jan O'Brien was assistant editor and website manager at Yale Climate Connections from 2007-2022. She brought more than three decades of experience in environmental publishing and policy research and more...