CollaborOCEANS concept was founded in 2019 by abstract fine artist Timothy Johnston, or TJ, when he envisioned an Ocean Exhibition in Malibu alongside his friend and multi-international award winning ocean photographer Charlotte Piho. In 2020, while living between LA and Sydney, TJ opened his first gallery in Mosman, Sydney Australia, and has since gone from strength to strength in both his conservation work and his art. It was there that he met globally recognised conservationist and recipient of the Dutch “Order of the Golden Ark’ – Valerie Taylor AM, a huge moment in both his artistic and personal life, as she became a wonderful friend, inspiration and collaborator in the fight for our oceans. Her life’s work and encouraging outlook became a shared passion as they are both artists and ocean conservationists. TJ invited Valerie to be the Exhibit Patron for his next Souls of the Seas ocean exhibition, called ‘Empowering’, held at Mosman Wharf on Sydney Harbour.


TJ is not only a gifted visual artist who studied for five years under Australian National Treasure Max Watters, but also a talented musician who is passionate about singing and songwriting. Whilst living in London, he appeared on X Factor UK and made it through to the final rounds. One of his highlights was being invited to record at the iconic Abbey Road Studios. He also won the ‘Stobart Factor’ in northern England and so shared this stage with Westlife, The Sugar Babes, Boyzone, McFly, Paul Potts, with Louis Walsh as compere. In 2009, TJ had returned to Sydney and was invited to try out for Channel 10’s Australian Idol. He gained the ‘people’s vote’ and was in the coveted Top 12 of the competition, gaining the opportunity to sing with Michael Bublé.

Timothy Johnston is a true artist, committed to using the power of creative works to inspire change. With his sights set on big goals in the coming years, both for his art and his environmentalism, he is looking forward to collaborating with other creatives to see the prioritisation of sustainable management and habits in this UN Decade of Ocean Action.

Timothy Johnston’s Website



Valerie Taylor AM

‘Queen of the Ocean’
Artist, Conservationist, Pioneering Diver, Shark Advocate and Photographer


The name Valerie Taylor is iconic in the world of ocean conservation and ocean film and photography. Valerie is a conservationist, filmmaker, painter, writer and photographer, and has well and truly earned her place in the Diving Hall of Fame. Valerie, with her late husband Ron Taylor, shot documentaries about sharks in the days when very few people were venturing under water at all. After working with Steven Speilberg to make his movie Jaws as life-like as possible, Ron and Valerie realised the terrible and unintended impact the film made on the global image of all sharks, great and small. They immediately went on a talking circuit across the USA not only to promote the movie but to emphasise the scientific truths about the Great White Shark as an apex predator. Valerie’s relationship with the ocean and its vast marine life is profound, admirable and something that we believe Gen Z can learn from in their own ocean conservation journeys. Valerie continues to do her part for the ocean, still fighting to protect the ocean’s apex predator as well as other species.

Notable achievements:

  • 1986 – Order of the Golden Ark (presented by His Royal Highness, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands)
  • 1992 – Australian Geographic Adventurer of the Year
  • 1997 – The jury award for the film Shark Pod at the Antibes Underwater Festival, France
  • 1998 – The Golden Palm Award for the book Blue Wilderness at the 25th World Festival of Underwater Pictures in Antibes, France
  • 2000 – International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame
  • 2002 – Wildlife Preservation Society of Australia’s Serventy Conservation Medal
  • 2008 – Australian Geographic Lifetime of Conservation Award
  • 2011 – Australian Cinematographers Society Hall of Fame
  • 2012 – Renaming of the newly declared Neptune Islands Group Marine Park surrounding the Neptune Islands in South Australia to the ‘Neptune Islands Group (Ron and Valerie Taylor) Marine Park’
  • 2021 – Winner of the Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Documentary Competition
  • First person, along with her late husband Ron Taylor, to film great white sharks without the protection of a cage
  • Overturned mining rights on Coral Sea Islands
  • Lobbied for the maintenance of sanctuary zones in South Australia
  • Won protection for many places on the Great Barrier Reef before it was given World Heritage status
  • Esteemed painter of Melody the Mermaid and many more admired watercolour works
  • Biography  co-written with Ben McKelvey “Valerie Taylor: An Adventurous Life”, the remarkable story of the trailblazing ocean conservationist, photographer and shark expert

Youth Patron

Sam Fricker

Olympic Diver


Sam Fricker is a young athlete, eco-entrepreneur and social media powerhouse for Gen Z. Sam’s motto, ‘Dive Into Clean Oceans’, is guided by his love for both diving and protecting the oceans, in particular reducing plastic waste. He uses his platform to inspire others to turn their love of the marine world into action. Sam’s passion and work ethic earned him a spot representing Australia in diving at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Sam is not only an outstanding athlete and content creator, but also a passionate ocean conservationist, having worked with countless conservation organisations.

When Sam was 16, he saw a video that had gone viral of a sea turtle having a plastic straw removed from its nosel. This ignited a spark in him to urgently find a better solution to single use plastics so founded his own straw eco-business. Originally named Tsarian, then renamed Sam’s Straws in 2021, the wheat straw company was the start of Sam’s ocean conservation journey. Sam’s aim is to inspire young people to take initiative in their everyday life and become leaders, as they are the key to the future of ocean conservation. Sam’s idea to start the annual Youth Ocean Carnival – World Ocean Day event is his way of reaching as many young people as possible, and over time turning it into a global event to advocate action for the UN 30×30 goals.

Notable achievements and highlights:

  • 2020 – Tokyo Olympic Games Olympic Diver
  • 2021 Junior Athlete Of The Year 
  • 2022 – Commonwealth Games ‘’Queen’s Baton Relay’ Sydney
  • CollaborOCEANS Youth Patron
  • Good Human Factory Ambassador
  • Starlight Foundation Youth Ambassador
  • Clean Up Australia Day Ambassador
  • Australian TikTok Sensation with 1.3+ Mil Followers
  • Australian Olympic Committee -‘Change-Makers’ Youth Forum
  • National Institute Of Sport Ambassador
  • Eco-Entrepreneur Of Sam’s Straws

Science and Climate Patron

Chris Turney

Pro Vice-Chancellor Of Research at UTS
Professor of Earth System Science


Professor Turney is the Pro Vice-Chancellor of University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and Professor of Earth System Science. He supports the commercialisation and deployment of new research discoveries for the environment, and informs on national and international policy. Chris is a firm believer in making research, science and innovative solutions accessible to the non-scientific community, giving a voice to the environmental issues of our time. He has been described by the UK Saturday Times as the ‘new David Livingstone’. Professor Chris continues to dedicate his career to focusing on understanding the Earth’s systems, using this knowledge to mitigate the impacts of predicted environmental changes. Educating young people on his research and findings is an essential part of this work, as Professor Chris believes that Gen Z holds the future in their hands.

Notable achievements and highlights:

  • 2014 Frederick White Prize, The Australian Academy of Science
  • 2011 Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship
  • 2009 Bigsby Medal, The Geological Society of London
  • 2008 Philip Leverhulme Prize, The Leverhulme Trust
  • 2007 Sir Nicholas Shackleton Medal for Most Outstanding Quaternary Scientist, International Union for Quaternary Research
  • 2004 J.G. Russell Award, Australian Academy of Science
  • 2002/2003 Teaching Award, Queen’s University, Belfast, UK
  • Multiple publications including books and journal articles e.g. Turney C, 2008, Ice, Mud and Blood: Lessons from Climate Past, Macmillan


Creatives collaborating for ocean conservation

Charlotte Piho

Multi Award Winning Marine Photographer


Often penned as ‘The Real Moana’, Charlotte Piho is a multi-award winning marine photographer. Born from a long heritage of pearl farmers, she is a naturally gifted freediver who has turned her love of the water into an astounding career in photography, freediving and big wave Stand Up Paddle board surfing, ranking 13th in the world at the sport. She is passionate about sharing her love of the ocean with others and inspiring conservation efforts through the images she captures.

Notable achievements and highlights:

  • 2020 Awarded Bronze in the nature/underwater category of the Paris Photographer of the Year awards (PX3 Prix De La Photographie Paris).
  • 2021 New York Photographer of the year (Awarded Gold) for the category Nature/Underwater
  • 2021 Showcased her turtle and eagle ray images on Australia’s Sydney Opera House for World Ocean Day 
  • Photographed Australia’s leading elite sporting events including the Nutri-Grain IronMan and IronWomen series. 
  • Photographed brand campaigns, such as O’Neill Kids; Nike Swim; Speedo; Softlite Surfboards; Dafin
  • Cook Islands turtle tours ranked in the top 1% of experiences in the world, and the top 10 in the South Pacific.
James Peter Henry

Artist, Murialist


James Peter Henry is a West Hollywood based Australian artist working in a multitude of forms. He started painting at a young age, stating that the simplicity and silence of growing up on a farm in Victoria is what inspired his overactive and creative mind, and it continues to do so today. For James, art is always about feelings, as he personifies emotion on the canvas. The major points of reference have always been Aboriginal and African art with Cubism constantly finding its way into many pieces. He has worked with the likes of Vogue and the Oscars, as well as being the man behind many prominent murals across LA.

Notable achievements and highlights:

  • 2022 US Vogue Magazine Article ‘DRESS’ in collaboration with Claude Kameni
  • 2022 Live Auction for a painted bottle of Cardinal du Four Armagnac sold US$1.2 MIL
  • 2021 NFT Collaboration featuring Snoop Dogg / Julian Banks & James Peter Henry
  • 2021 Showcased artwork on Australia’s most iconic landmark the Sydney Opera House for UN World Oceans Day 
  • 2021 Art Basel, Istituto Marangoni, presented by eBay & GBK in collaboration with Claude Kameni, ’THE DRESS’   
  • 2021 Art Basel, Convention Centre, Kobe immortal Exhibition 
  • 2021 NFT ‘The cartel Series’ with LandDAO
  • 2021 Pre-Oscar gift lounge limited Edition Prints given to Oscar Nominees
  • 2019 Maddox Gallery Q&A live painting exhibition, Los Angeles, CA
  • 2016 Style LA Fashion Week “Immersion” at Pacific Design Centre Los Angeles, CA
Craig Parry

Acclaimed Marine Photographer


Starting from humble beginnings, Craig Parry grew up in the picturesque Byron Bay where his love of ocean photography began with just a disposable waterproof camera gifted by his parents when he was five. A self-taught photographer dedicated to marine and landscape imagery, Craig’s talent has led to success as a Sony Global Ambassador who travels the world to shoot for National Geographic, Discovery Channel and Travel Channel. Craig’s award winning photograph of ‘Migaloo’ taken off the coast of Byron Bay in 2016 is the first ever underwater photograph capturing the rare albino humpback whale.

Notable achievements and highlights:

  • 2021 showcased ‘Migaloo’ photographs on Australia’s most iconic landmark the Sydney Opera House for World Ocean Day
  • 2017 1st Place – The Ghost – Golden Turtle International Photography Competition – Category: The Under- Water World
  • 2014 1st Place – Life & Death – International Landscape Photographer of the Year – Category: International Landscape Photograph of the Year
  • 2014 1st Place – Fin Swipe – International Photographer of the Year – Category: Underwater Photograph of the Year
  • Photographer with Disney+ on Shark Beach with Valerie Taylor AM & Chris Hemsworth
  • Photographer with upcoming National Geographic series Limitless with Chris Hemsworth
Courtney Purcell

Marine Biologist, Founder Sea Glory Swim


From a young age, Courtney knew she wanted to dedicate her life to teaching people about the ocean. Growing up as a lover of all things in the sea, and studying Marine Science & Management, Courtney wanted to educate people about the ocean and its creatures without participating in the aquarium industry, noticing practices that went against her training and principles. She found her passion in ethical and sustainable fashion, and the promotion of zero waste living. She founded the up-cycled swimwear line for mothers and children, Sea Glory Swim. Her hope is that Sea Glory Swim will inspire people to fall in love with the ocean and understand more about how incredible it is.

Notable achievements and highlights:

  • Created a sustainable up-cycled nylon swimwear brand for children – Sea Glory Swim
  • Used brand Sea Glory Swim to educate children, create sustainable swimwear and clean up the ocean all in one!
Blak Douglas

Winner of Archibald Prize 2022


Born Adam Douglas Hill to a Dhungatti Aboriginal father and Caucasian mother, Blak proudly embraces his Aboriginal heritage and advocates for First Nations peoples. A unique and treasured talent in Australian art, Blak is an illustrator, photographer, painter and activist. Also a classically trained Yidaki player, he has performed nationally and internationally accompanying the likes of Christine Anu, Jessica Mauboy and Peter Sculthorpe. His works are held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Museum of Australia, Sydney; The Art Gallery of NSW; Taipei Museum; AAMU, Utrecht, Netherlands; and regional Sydney Councils including Blacktown, Liverpool and Campbelltown. Blak is passionate about collaboration, community and the political power of art. His deeply allegorical Archibald Prize winning portrait Moby Dickens depicts artist Karla Dickens, and portrays a biblical metaphor representative of the 2022 flooding disaster in Lismore NSW.

Notable achievements and highlights:

    • GO Foundation Ambassador
    • 2022 Winner of Archibald Prize 
    • Kilgour Portrait Prize
    • 2021 National Still Life Award winner
    • 2021 Showcased artwork on Australia’s most iconic landmark the Sydney Opera House for World Oceans Day 
    • 2018 The Archibald prize Finalist
    • 2018 King & Wood Mallesons Contemporary ATSI art prize, Australia
    • 2015 Archibald Prize, Finalist, Parliament of NSW Aboriginal Art Prize Ambassador 


    The UN’s Global Sustainable Development Goals provide us with a framework to create meaningful, integrated partnerships . By uniting the creative sector with science, we can work towards these critical goals and overcome some of the biggest challenges of our time.

    CollaborOCEANS, in keeping with Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals, will champion our and our partners’ commitment to the Global Goals in everything we do. We are pooling resources, knowledge and expertise to raise awareness for conservation efforts and to celebrate our incredible ocean. With our partners, we are working towards the international call to action on the 30×30 goal (protecting 30% of the ocean by the year 2030.) We are “better together”!

    World Ocean Day

    World Ocean Day each year on the 8th of June provides a unique way to really focus on raising the profile of the ocean and marine issues that affect us all. World Ocean Day is led by a Youth Advisory Council and is a voice at the forefront of ocean action and conservation. CollaborOCEANS is proud to announce that our partnership coincides with the acceptance of our Youth Patron, Sam Fricker, onto the World Ocean Day, Youth Advisory Council 2022/2023.

    Together, we felt we could build a partnership committed to Sam’s vision of hosting a world-first Youth Ocean Carnival on World Ocean Day. Sydney is a beautiful harbour city that lends itself not only to being a global Host-City, but also becoming an inspirational city in ocean conservation.

    To help achieve the 30×30 Goal, CollaborOCEANS and World Ocean Day will collaborate on interactive experiences embedded into the Youth Ocean Carnival, World Ocean Day 2023. One Ocean. One Climate. One Future – Together!

    View Public Endorsement Letter for Youth Ocean Carnival by Bill Mott Executive Director

    To find out more visit the World Ocean Day website. 

    The Ocean Project

    The Ocean Project is all about collaborative conservation. CollaborOCEANS is uniting with The Ocean Project as a Global Goal Partner in our endeavour to support Sam Fricker and his vision for a world-first Youth Ocean Carnival, World Ocean Day 2023 in Sydney, Australia.

    This partnership has enormous potential, as other youth-focussed organisations around the world benefit from this joint venture through the 2,000+ Youth Network Organisations associated with The Ocean Project. The Ocean Project believes in the power of partnership to accelerate progress towards a healthy blue planet. We are proud to be aligned with them as we move forward towards the 30×30 Goals.

    Since launching the global coordination of World Ocean Day in 2002, The Ocean Project has continuously built on this unique opportunity to raise the profile of the ocean, culminating in a United Nations-recognised event which began in 2009. It is now a global celebration of our shared ocean with more than 2,000 events in 150 countries.

    To find out more visit the World Ocean Day website.

    Conservation International

    Conservation International protects nature for the benefit of humanity. Through science, policy, fieldwork and finance, Conservation International spotlights and secures the most important places in nature for the climate, for biodiversity and for people. With offices in 30 countries and projects in more than 100 countries, Conservation International partners with governments, companies, civil society, Indigenous peoples and local communities to help people and nature thrive together.

    In 2021 CollaborOCEANS had the incredible opportunity to support Conservation International in their partnership with ReShark to create the world’s first Leopard Shark Recovery Program through our Kingdom of Coral exhibit at Taronga Zoo. This event inspired the adoption of six leopard sharks. These beautiful and gentle sharks have been overfished and are now endangered everywhere in the world, except Australia. Conservation International, along with University of Queensland, have highlighted that locations with robust populations of the species have been reduced to large public aquariums and the waters of northern Australia, from Queensland to Western Australia.

    In 2023 CollaborOCEANS will be supporting Conservation International’s marine work in Timor-Leste through the Youth Ocean Carnival.

    View Public Endorsement Letter here by Mark Erdmann Vice President, Marine Programs, Conservation International Asia-Pacific.

    To find out more visit the Conservation International website.


    We would like to thank all of our valued sponsors and supporters for their generosity in providing resources, donations, volunteers and more!