It All Comes Out In The Wash
Ian McCallum

Ian: "This artwork titled ‘It all comes out in the wash,’ addresses humanity's use of the ocean and the flow on effect connecting our lifestyle with other animals. Different species interact in what can be thought of as an economic system in their environments. In this instance I looked specifically at the Cleaner Wrasse a small fish, that lives from the Red Sea to Australia and the whole Indo-Pacific, daily they eat the parasites and dead scales off of other fish. Each Cleaner Wrasse sets up shop at a particular spot on the reef, like a string of car washes, and the client fish line up at their favorite station to have their parasites removed.

I find this idea of economic trade within fish interesting as it relates to the elements I use in my practice. I collect imagery of old signage, discarded packaging, and advertising and weave these elements into my paintings. With an economic system that only works with continual yearly growth, selling items are prioritized, most of which produce by-products in the form of waste. This waste has to go somewhere, and huge amount ends up in the ocean affecting other animals, sharing the biome with us, with their own economic systems to be upheld. These products also represent a system not highly considerate of the finite nature of resources, overfishing causes an imbalance in the reef and therefore affects the number of clients for the Cleaner Wrasse.

The focus on just our own economy can benefit from a shift to take into account that there are other systems, specifically in the ocean, out there being hugely affected by urban coastal development, overfishing and therefore poor reef health."


Sea Walls Australia is a groundbreaking public art program that brings the message of ocean conservation and environmental stewardship into streets around the country.

Ian McCallum is a National artist from Toowoomba, Queensland that was involved in the 2018 Sea Walls festival in Cairns.


Image Gallery