Inaugural Artist Feature

We at The Landmark Project are excited to premiere Landmark Presents, a program designed to amplify artists whose work encourages inclusivity and stewardship of our public lands. For our inaugural issue, we've rounded up a few talented artists who fit that bill.

Mike McCain is originally from Washington state though he now lives in LA.

Danika Ostrowski is from Houston but has made Austin her home. 

Paula Champagne hails from Naperville, IL, and now lives in Somerville, MA.

Mike McCain

How did you get started creating nature-inspired works?

I started plein air painting a few years ago when I was taking a break from work for a few months - and soon became hooked. I think the more I travel and paint nature, the more I'm able to appreciate the beauty of the world around us. Through studying and interpreting the shapes and colors of an area and learning more about its geology, plants, and climate, I feel like I can then start to see and be fascinated by things I wouldn't have even noticed before.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?

Probably photography or cinematography - I've always got my camera with me on hikes and trips. Over the years, I've found that learning more about photography has also made me a better painter. I think it really helps train your eye and develop your understanding of light and composition in nature.

What’s your all time favorite outdoor space?

So many to choose from! My favorite place to visit is probably the red rock desert around Moab. It's such a fun area and the views are really unique and inspiring. I've gone there a couple times now to escape and recharge, and it never disappoints.

Danika Ostrowski

How did you get started creating nature-inspired works?

I grew up visiting National Parks every summer. After I graduated college I was still trying to find my artistic voice. I took a trip out to Big Bend National Park and felt a wave of emotion roll over me. The nostalgia of family road trips hit me, and I fell in love with our National Parks all over again. I've been painting public lands ever since.

Are you currently working on any cool projects you'd like to share about?

I recently started making paint-by-numbers kits of iconic scenes in parks. The response I've gotten from my followers has been amazing. 2020 has been a tough year for everyone, and creating a product that gives people a release through art therapy has been really special.

Are you involved in any form of advocacy or giveback?

I have a specific collection of small paintings on paper that give back to the National Parks Foundation. A portion of all sales of these works is donated. I try to use social media as a platform to advocate for public lands and conservation efforts. One of my major goals next year is to make these ideas a stronger part of my brand and online presence.

Paula Champagne

How did you get started creating nature-inspired works? 

I noticed a lack of representation in nature-inspired artwork, so I started to do this work to honor and celebrate the connection between Blackness and nature. What continues to fuel my work is the restoration that nature offers for me and for my community.

What does the phrase “outdoors for all” mean to you?

This phrase is meant to dismantle the myth that being outdoorsy is reserved for white folks. The outdoors is meant for everyone with no exclusion.

What’s your all time favorite outdoor space? 

I don't like to play favorites, but I thoroughly enjoyed spending time in my backyard garden this year. I started it to honor my grandmother, a former gardener, who passed this year. The garden offered me so much healing and joy.

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