Laura is a local artist in Charleston, SC who focuses on art activism as a form of aesthetic resolution for conservation of our endangered species. Her newest collection of endangered birds aims at raising awareness of the threats our birds are facing and their significance to our ecosystems. Ten percent of the proceeds are donated to The Center for Birds of Prey, The National Aviary and BirdLife International- organizations working towards conservation on a global level.
"Balance" by Laura Palermo and the Center for Birds of Prey
“Balance” is a collection of artwork specifically depicting birds of prey and highlighting their significance and necessity to our ecosystem. Many people view vultures and hawks as nuisance animals. They have a skewed view of them soaring around waiting for something to die, hanging out with villains, or devouring roadkill. The reality is that these animals are vital. They play an imperative role in balancing our ecosystem. Like all birds of prey, vultures and hawks help regulate the populations of other animals. Insects, amphibians, fish, rodents, and reptiles go through phases of population surge due to changes in climate and surplus amounts of food. High populations of any species can destroy the equilibrium of our ecosystem. By painting a collection of bird portraits and praising their existence Palermo is hoping to help educate viewers about the significant role they play.
"Asian Brown Wood Owl" 10 x 10 Acrylic on Wood Panel
Hawksbills feed almost exclusively on sponges. As the turtles feast the stinging coral burns their faces and they relentlessly reach through it to get to the sponges. Hawksbill turtle meat is poisonous to humans, caused by the sponges’ sharp glass-like spicules with toxic chemical compounds. Although the Hawksbill turtles aren’t harvested for their meat, they still aren’t safe from poachers. Hawksbill turtles’ shells are considered the most beautiful feature of this astonishing animal, and at the same time, a great threat. Their carapaces are absolutely stunning because of their beautiful colors and their distinctive pattern of overlapping scutes. This has led to Hawksbill’s overfishing in the past. Currently these shells are still coveted on the black market, even though Hawskbills are considered critically endangered on a global level.
"Turtle Hatchlings - Seafoam Green" Triptych 8" x 8" Acrylic on Canvas
"Turtle Hatchlings - Yellow" Triptych 8" x 8" Acrylic on Canvas
"Grace" Triptych 30 x 15
"Grace" Triptych 30 x 40, Acrylic on Canvas
"Grace" Triptych 30 x 15
Grace is a Green sea turtle who was rescued in Awendaw SC on January 25, 2016. She was found floating in the Intracoastal Waterway, listless and unable to swim away. Grace was cold stunned. The term cold stunned refers to the hypothermic reaction that occurs when sea turtles are exposed to prolonged cold water temperatures. Initial symptoms include a decreased heart rate, decreased circulation, and lethargy, followed by shock, pneumonia and possibly death.
Grace was lucky enough to strand herself near a dock belonging to a coastal conservationist and wildlife biologist, who were able to recognize the symptoms of a cold stunned turtle, and for whom Grace was named after.
Upon admission they performed a physical examination, took radiographs, administered fluids, vitamins, and antibiotics. She has a lowered heart rate of 16 beats per minute, and a body temperature of 54.8°.
After some special care and a slow acclimation to being in a tank of salt water, Grace is now swimming around energetically and devouring fish and lettuce. Radiographs were taken and showed no signs of pneumonia, prognosis is good but full recovery is still pending.
"18th Green" triptych, (1) 30 x 48, (2) 30 x 15, GICLEE
“18th Green” is a green sea turtle who was found on the beach near the 18th hole on Kiawah Island’s Ocean Golf Course. He was covered with barnacles and algae and was found lethargic and underweight. Radiographs revealed air in the intestines, causing 18th Green’s rear end to float, suggesting a gastrointestinal tract impaction.
Upon admittance to the Sea Turtle Hospital, 18th Green received a fresh water bath to remove the barnacles and algae, was administered fluids for hydration and mineral oil tube feedings. About 2 months after being admitted, 18th Green passed multiple pieces of plastic and slowly regained his appetite.
After receiving extraordinary attention from the Sea Turtle Hospital staff for a year and a half, 18th Green was deemed releasable and was sent back to the ocean where he was found, on Kiawah Island.
"Just Keep Swimming" 24 x 24 Giclee
"The Journey Ahead" 24 x 24 Giclee
I am presenting a collection of paintings depicting the rescued sea turtles at the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Hospital. This collection is dedicated to raising awareness of the endangerment and the threats they face everyday, as well as raise money for the sea turtle hospital.
"Johanna" 24 x 24 Giclee
Johanna is an endangered hawksbill sea turtle who was found by guests at the Four Seasons hotel in the Maldives. She had beached herself and become stranded. She was very weak upon admission to the Marine Savers Centre, with damage to her carapace from an old wound. After some time and care from their support team the majority of the shell hardened and healed. After her recovery Johanna became very active in their recovery pool, diving with ease and enjoying the abundant amount of foods offered. Her behavior was very encouraging and she was released a few days later.
"Ollie" 40 x 16 Acrylic on Canvas
Ollie was rescued on Folly River in South Carolina immediately after being struck by a boat, and was transported to the sea turtle hospital to receive treatment for his injuries within two hours of the accident. Ollie had been struck on the top of his shell and on the top of his jaw. After closer examination they also found some older wounds on the rear of his shell and a severe lesion on his underside that penetrated all the way through the bone. He was administered fluids, pain meds, and antibiotics, and after a week of treatment he was resting comfortably. Thanks to the generosity of donors, Ollie was able to receive companion K-Laser therapy on his wounds, which is a non-invasive and pain-free laser treatment which expedites the healing process. After six months of care, Ollie was released in Florida with 52 other sea turtles.
Jersey is a young Loggerhead turtle who was found stranded at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant in New Jersey. She was pulled in by the cooling canal, which isn’t a rare occurrence for sea turtles. Her left rear flipper wasn’t moving and she had a healed wound on her shell. Her thin body and low blood protein levels also indicated that she wasn’t eating properly. After a couple days of coaxing, the volunteers at the hospital finally got her to eat. Although her overall health was increasing, her rear flipper still wasn’t moving and has led to her developing scoliosis. Jersey was declared unreleasable and they are currently looking to move her into a permanent home.
"Jersey" 12x24 GICLEE
"Miss Royal" 12x36 GICLEE
Miss Royal was found just off of Hilton Head Island by the SCDNR. She was struck by a large propeller and suffered from wounds from the right side of her shell to her rear flipper. The propeller did not completely sever the rear flipper, causing her to undergo surgery to remove the hanging portion of tissue. Under special care from the sea turtle hospital, Miss Royal has had a thriving recovery and will soon be released back into the ocean.
Eddie is a small green turtle who was stranded near Edisto in August of 2012. The rescuers found him flailing and swimming vigorously trying to get away, but he wasn’t able to dive below the surface. After some close examination, the sea turtle hospital concluded that Eddie’s buoyancy issue was caused by a boat strike wound to his shell. The nerves that control the gastrointestinal tract were damaged, causing his rear end to constantly float, making it difficult for Eddie to dive for food. In addition, Eddie’s appearance was abnormally pale. Low thyroid hormone levels caused Eddie to lose his color, leaving him with a light gray skin and shell. After a year and a half of rehabilitation, there was still no solution to Eddie’s buoyancy problem, and he was deemed non-releasable. Eddie’s quality of life is otherwise excellent, and he will soon be moved from the sea turtle hospital to a more permanent home.
"Eddie" 30 x 20 Giclee
"Amelia" 48x36 Acrylic/Gallery Wrap Canvas
This Painting is named after Amelia, a juvenile green sea turtle rescued in Hilton Head by a family in early January 2014. When she was found, air temperatures were near freezing and the water was approximately 50 degrees, which is far too cold for sea turtles. Amelia was cold-stunned, which happens when sea turtles are exposed to frigid water temperatures for several days, causing their circulatory system to slow to the point where they become cold-stunned and unable to swim or function properly. The SC Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital took Amelia in and is slowly nursing her back to health.
"Tortuga" 30 x 48 GICLEE
Tortuga - Additional Lower Left Panel 15x30 GICLEE
Laura Palermo - Tortuga Triptych - Full installation available. Tortuga can be purchased separately.
Tortuga - Additional Upper Right Panel 15x30 GICLEE
Palermo's turtle collection is dedicated to sea turtle conservation. Ten percent of all sea turtle art sales are donated to the South Carolina Aquarium's Sea Turtle Rescue Program, a faciliy that rehabilitates sick and injured sea turtles for release back into the wild. Please join us in being part of the solution to conserve our local threatened and endangered sea turtles.
Note from Mary Martin: "From the day Laura walked in the door I have had tremendous respect for her work and her love of the beautiful sea turtles. I have asked her many questions about sea turtles and she is like an encyclopedia. I look forward to seeing this young lady grow in her career. Of one thing we are certain, many people will have her paintings of sea turtles in their homes. Beautiful work done with passion!"
Laura Palermo has always been passionate about art and animals.
It all began with a turtle…or two. Deeply inspired by wildlife conservation, Palermo was thrilled when she encountered two sea turtles while fishing off the coast of Sullivan’s Island. This wonderful experience in addition to the rousing sea turtle information at the SC Aquarium led to her decision in starting a collection of sea turtle art. A couple of months later the enthusiastic artist was SCUBA certified and eager to swim and study these magnificent creatures in their natural environment. With the goal of further increasing the awareness of today’s dangers threatening these magnificent creatures, Palermo posts stories and turtle facts with each piece of art in addition to donating 10% of her profits to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Hospital. She has also spent time as an education volunteer at the SC Aquarium where she enjoyed teaching children the significance of preserving our natural environment.
Laura’s growing curiosity of threatened species has led her in the direction of endangered birds. She is continuing to donate a portion of the profits to several conservation organizations including Charleston’s local Center for Birds of Prey, The National Aviary and BirdLife International. Laura Palermo has found that her focus on art activism as a form of aesthetic contribution for conservation of our endangered species has been, and will continue to be, a rewarding experience for both her and her collectors for many years to come.
Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Palermo attended Mercyhurst University and acquired a degree in studio art. During her four years in college she also traveled to Europe to study abroad. Living in Florence, Italy for five months, Laura filled her schedule with all art classes. In her free time, she traveled to different parts of France, Greece, and England. Traveling through and being a part of these European cultures has been a further inspiration for Palermo to pursue her career in art.