Oscar J. Romo

Chula Vista, California

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Title
Atmospheric Rivers

Location
Atmospheric Rivers Plaza, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, UCSD

Media
Flagstone, Pervious concrete, Repurposed Iron, Bicycle sprockets, Glass bottles

Dimensions
15 x 15 feet

One large piece of sculptural art, “Atmospheric Rivers,” sits on the front lawn of the La Jolla Historical Society and draws attention from passers-by. Created by artist Oscar Romo, who is also a professor of urban studies and planning at UC San Diego, the mixed media sculpture is made of recycled and repurposed materials, including bicycle sprockets and sawn-off pieces of glass bottles foraged from the Tijuana River. Romo created the globe-shaped piece after consulting with Gershunov, an expert in atmospheric rivers—which are ribbon-like flows of water vapor from the tropics to higher latitudes that are critical for California’s water supply and pose a flood risk. Bicycle sprockets comprise Earth’s continents on Romo’s globe, while colorful glass pieces form the tropical moisture belt and atmospheric rivers swirling around the planet. The piece brings to focus the beautiful and extreme nature of this weather pattern, which has an increased probability of producing copious rainfall as the climate continues to warm.
My artwork translates scientific data into art, emphasizes the urge to address of our regional environmental challenges, I am very selective on the use of materials typically found as waste in our waterways, beaches and open spaces.

How does the region influence your art?

As a border resident, college professor/researcher, and an environmental professional I have studied the relationships between our natural and built environment, my artwork helps to alert the public and decision-makers, over our environmental defies, stimulating them to act and to support the process to achieve a more sustainable way of life in our region

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