“Each time I’m confronted with raw nature and wilderness, either on land or under water, I can’t help but feel one with everything that exists on our planet. It humbles me, that indescribable beauty, and it never ceases to amaze me. But Western society has limited most people from having these experiences often enough, and in time, most of us have forgotten this crucial sense of wonder. We don’t feel we have the responsibility to protect what we don’t see on a daily basis. And that’s a reality that’s very dangerous.”
- Vincent Mock
Born in Geneva in 1980, Vincent Mock has had a lifelong fascination with the natural world and his extensive travels turned this fascination into an obsession. After finishing his BA at the New School in Amsterdam and studying philosophy at the University of Amsterdam, he decided it was time to swap his urban life for the African Wild. He partook in game ranging courses and gained hands-on experience managing nature reserves in South Africa.
However, the ocean is what truly fascinated him. While doing his Dive Master in Mozambique and Zanzibar, he was stunned by the natural beauty and diversity of marine life; and by the appalling and destructive impact humans have on this wilderness.
Vincent now combines his passion for nature conservation with his love for art. Initially drawing and painting wildlife, he has now turned his attention to sculpting oceanic species that are under threat of extinction. The stainless steel sculptures from the Hooked on Life series are made out of hundreds of real longline fishing hooks used in the destructive commercial fishing industry today.
Fishhooks serve as both a symbol of human endeavor and of our relationship with nature. They allow us to fish the oceans and provide us with a steady source of food that in the past has given us the energy for our voyages of discovery.
In East Timor, fishhooks were discovered that date back as far as 42,000 years. These ancient tools, handcrafted out of seashells, symbolize a time when we were in balance with our natural environment. However, nowadays, the same tool serves as a symbol for human kind’s unwitting destruction of that same environment. Daily, with systematic precision, we deploy millions of long line fishhooks into international, unregulated waters. We are emptying our oceans at an alarming rate and upsetting the delicate balance of nature.
With his sculptures, Vincent explores the relationship between our identity as a human species and our place on this planet. The increasing number of endangered species suggests that we have become disconnected from nature and misguided about our responsibilities towards our natural environment. This neglect is none more evident than within the shark family. For more than 400 million years, sharks have determined the natural balance in the oceans as apex predators, dominating the water even before life on land flourished, and being a crucial part of the selection process for life of the future. Now these ancient, iconic fish are in danger of becoming extinct.
Vincent crafts these predators in their pure organic shape out of the very fishhooks that are threatening their existence, hoping to draw awareness to our place within and responsibility towards nature.
Vincent lives and works in Amsterdam.