Photo courtesy of Breanna Cooke.

When one neighbor came across a campaign on social media, she knew it would be a great way to combine her artistic skills and interest in climate advocacy.

Breanna Cooke, who lives in Casa View, saw the Glowing Glowing Gone campaign, which was designed by The Ocean Agency, an organization dedicated to marine conservation. The agency worked with Pantone and Adobe to develop three colors –purple, yellow and blue — and invite artists to use them in work to inspire action.

Cooke is a volunteer with Citizens’ Climate Lobby and often heard from a climate scientist that talking about climate change is one of the most effective ways to begin addressing the issue.

That prompted Cooke to think about how she could use her experience as a body painter and graphic design skills to create a line of apparel and document it in an underwater photoshoot.

She found Yoganastix, a company that could print her design on leggings and bras made from recycled plastic bottles, and decided to order 100 pieces of each type of clothing. This was the first time Cooke had partnered with a climate campaign and the first time working on an apparel project of this size.

Then the pandemic started, and Yoganastix began making face masks. Cooke paused her apparel order and started making other pieces, such as stickers, greeting cards and postcards using her coral reef design.

Cooke received samples of her clothing orders in August 2021, while she was in Maine. She initially had planned to wait to do a body paint photoshoot until she was back in Dallas, but she thought it would be a good idea to show people that her clothes could be worn anywhere. So she reached out to a nutritionist, who modeled the clothes for a photoshoot on the beach.

She was set to do a photoshoot on a trip to Hawaii, but before she left, she contacted a specialist to give her a crash course on underwater photography.

The model and photographer who were supposed to participate in the Hawaii shoot changed their plans, so Cooke had to use her new photography skills, and her friend who was traveling with her — another body paint artist — modeled the clothes and body paint. Cooke took about 130 photos during the body paint photoshoot above ground, not wanting to get the paint in the water, and 100 photos in the underwater shoot.

Photo courtesy of Breanna Cooke.

“We were working against the setting sun for the body paint shoot,” Cooke said in an email to The Advocate. “For the underwater shoot, we were working with waves and choppy water, issues with water clarity from our feet kicking up the sand, the sun disappearing behind the clouds and even a shark scare.”

Cooke’s apparel is available for purchase here.

Cooke said in the future, she wants to continue looking for ways to combine her skills with climate advocacy. This project in particular provided colorful, bright photos attached to climate change, which often is associated with bleaker images. She also wants to further explore body painting and underwater photography in pools, and creating more sustainable apparel collections is also a possibility.

“Body painting is such a unique and intimate art form — a person is wearing the art on their own skin — it feels like a natural fit for broaching difficult subjects,” Cooke said.