The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.


Today’s featured artist:  Cheryl Clegg

The Endangered Lobstermen

On September 8, 2022, the non-profit, Monterey Bay Aquarium put American lobster on its seafood watch “red list,” telling all to avoid buying lobster.  The reason was not because lobster is over fished, it is because of the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale.  There are 350 endangered North Atlantic Right Whales left and the non-profit believes less lobstering will save more Right Whales. The claim is that the whales are constantly getting entangled in fishing gear.  As a long time, Maine visitor for over 30 years, I know the fishermen have changed gear in order to protect the Right Whale. They have not only changed the type of rope but have put in weak links for the whale to break through. The last time there was an entanglement of a Right Whale attributed to Maine fishing gear was 2004, 18 years ago.  Immediately following the “red list” announcement of lobster, businesses such as, Hello Fresh & Blue Apron, eliminated lobster as one of their offerings.

In my new series, “The Endangered Lobstermen” I am putting the human faces that are at risk of losing their livelihood and their way of life. It is not just one person in the family who fishes, it is the entire family whose livelihood revolves around the lobster industry.

Lobstering is a family business. If you are part of a lobster fishing family, most likely your parents, grandparents, great grandparents and great great grandparents were also lobstermen. You started out on the boat in some cases as an infant sleeping in a crate, with Mom & Dad pulling their traps.  As you got older you were up before the sun with your mother, father, grandparent or Aunt & Uncle, filling the bait bags as the traps were hauled.  You learned how to fish responsibly, not keeping any lobster that wasn’t mature enough, and you notched the females, so the population would thrive.  You took the apprenticeship classes in high school and got your junior lobster fishing license to continue the family tradition.  You saved your earnings from your catch & bought your first boat, traps and worked the 9 years to get your full license. The early mornings continued as you started your family, and the cycle began again.

There are close to 5000 commercially licensed lobster fishermen & 1085 licensed student lobster fishermen in the state of Maine who are facing new regulations that will threaten their livelihood.  The impending new regulations are asking for a 90% risk reduction to the 350 endangered Right Whales that are left.  The lobstermen and supporting businesses are facing an uncertain future and the whole state of Maine will be impacted.

“I moved to Stonington at 16 as an emancipated adult. This small fishing town has given me opportunities in my life that I never thought I would have. When I found out I was going to be a father, this town helped me to overcome addiction of prescription pain killers. Lobster fishing has given me the opportunity to provide for myself, my two children, my stepson and it has allowed me to become a foster parent to my nephew.
Without the lobster industry there are no other options for me to provide for my family in the community o the surrounding communities.
-Justin Betts
Has been around lobstering his entire life, has been active on the water for 11 years.
1st generation fisherman
“My dad won’t be able to work and do something he loves. This is something I would’ve thought about doing in my future. I’ve always enjoyed it and wanted to do it, I’ve never been forced to get on a boat.”
-Davyn George Betts
“This directly impacts us in all aspects of our business. We catch our product, process our product, pack our products to ship and serve our products. This is not only our livelihood it is a lifestyle passed on from each generation. This is our way of life. Not a day has passed in my life that hasn’t had lobster in it. Some of my children, the next generation may not have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams someday fishing they way they have been taught to do. This is in their blood.”
-Chris Chipman
Lobster fisherman for 45 years
Got his fishing license when he was 3 years old
“Having our product, “lobster” red listed has persuaded a few businesses to stop buying our lobster. This has lowered the price and the supply is down. In all of my years fishing, this has to be the hardest due to the rising cost of fuel and bait being the most expensive it has ever been. That limits what we have money for: food, home heating fuel and various other amenities- all of this because of the whales.”
-Tomi Colson
5th generation lobstermen
25 years fishing.
“The red list means less consumers buying lobster because they think we cause harm to right whales. This therefore lowers prices, dealers are not able to get rid of the product and this could potentially shut us down for good, not to mention the low price of lobster and the rising prices of bait, diesel, traps, rope etc. This if pushed forward with all of the cards against us, it could be the end of lobstering.”
– Adam Colson
– 5th generation lobstermen
– 33 years fishing
“This is our life. How we support ourselves and many others- sternman & family, co-op workers, trap makers, boat builders, car salesman bait dealers, etc, The list goes on…..”
-Bruce Crowley
5th generation fishermen
Fishing 60 years
Pictured here are 5th, 6th & 7th generation lobster fishermen
“The “red List” promotes the idea that fishermen are doing something wrong. It doesn’t acknowledge that we are the most sustainable fishery in the U.S. The “red list” means less people buying lobster and more people spreading false information”
-Leigh Farnsworth
1st generation lobster fishing woman
Fishing 26 years
“I don’t know what I would do without lobstering. I’ve invested my life into lobstering. It’s more than a job to me,it’s my heritage. It’s in my blood from my father and grandfathers before me. We are defined by the lobster industry.”
-Billy Bob Faulkingham
5th generation fisherman, fishing 40 years.
“I have been around the industry my whole life and fishing since I was 11 years old. I have known my whole life I have wanted to be a fisherman (woman). It is not only how I support myself and my son, it is our way of life. It is all I have every known. Now it is all I know how to do, and all I will ever do. What they are trying to do will impact ours and so many lives with devastating affects. With everything that is happening, the future of fishing is really worriesome for me and my son.”
Cassie Floyd
5th generation fisherman
“I have complied with all of the regulations by NOAA (whale safe rope, weak links & color marking rope). Being red listed is a real disheartening and a stressful situation. We are being penalized for doing an excellent job of all that we have been forced to do (for the right whale). If this 90% reduction in gear goes through, it will be impossible for me and all fishermen to support our families. Lobster fishing is all I have known, all of my life, it’s a way of life that my family loves and enjoys. Zero deaths or entanglements in 20 years should speak for itself but it doesn’t seem to.”
-Charles Kelley
58 years a lobstermen
4th generation fishermen
4th, 5th generation fishermen

To see more of this project, click here


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art-buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.

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1 Comment

  1. Bravo!!!!!!!!!!! What a great project and a reminder that just because a “good cause”sounds good, doesn’t mean it always is. Unintended consequences lurk around every corner.

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