Janina Rossiter

Janina Rossiter (Nina Rossiter) is an Artist, Author, and Artivist focussing on environmental issues. As an award-winning artist and bestselling, multi-award-winning author, Nina bridges her passions through her work in painting and illustrating children’s books.

Nina is also passionate about fighting climate change, protecting nature, and keeping the oceans free from plastic and pollutants. Her concerns for our environment are what inspired her to write “Diamonds, Hearts & Sea Stars!” and “123 Who’s Cleaning the Sea?”.

1. What about the ocean speaks to you as an artist, illustrator, and author?

I fell in love with the water at a very young age because I was a competitive swimmer, but over the years that connection started to fade.

About four years ago, my love of the ocean was reinvigorated while I began exploring an art technique called alcohol ink. The way the ink moved reminded me of the ocean and gave me the motivation to write a book about ocean life. While I was researching for the back, I kept reading about the damaging effects of plastic pollution on the ocean, and it changed my perspective on everything. It put me on my journey of protecting our planet by using my artistic power and visiting schools to help shape the next generation of artivists, who will then help inspire others.

2. What is your view on the role of art in activism and how do you aim to create impact through your work?

I think education is key to changing our future for the better. The more we know, the better we can act and use our power to make a difference. You never really know who you are influencing or who might see your artwork and be inspired to join the fight, so even when it feels like you are not reaching enough people, you may be reaching that one person who will eventually make an even bigger difference.

3. You’ve authored and illustrated two fantastic children’s books about the oceans. What inspired you to use this medium as a tool for artivism?

I love to use storytelling as a medium to connect with and inspire children to discover or protect our planet. This is what I aim to do through my penguin character, Tovi, who discovers the world, or through my concept books series about protecting our oceans. For me, I feel it is important not to overwhelm or scare the children, but rather to educate them in a fun way, and books are a perfect tool for that.

4. Can you share a particular project or campaign that you are most proud of or one currently underway that our audience might be able to support?

I love to use storytelling as a medium to connect with and inspire children to discover or protect our planet. This is

I’m very proud of having been invited to so many schools, to talk about important subjects like plastic pollution and protecting our planet. In my early artivism days especially, it was the children who most encouraged me to continue using my voice and skills towards inspiring environmental action. 

Another proud moment of mine was winning the Explorers Against Extinction ‘Artist of the Year Sketch for Survival, Wild Spaces’ award for my mangrove illustration—which I originally created for the Marine Diaries ecosystem project.

When I originally sent off the artwork to raise money for a good cause, I never imagined winning an award or what happened afterward. My mangrove piece was displayed in the leader’s lounge in the blue zone at COP26, as part of the Explorers Against Extinction exhibition. This is an area where only world leaders were allowed to enter and an A0 reproduction of my illustration was one of five artworks that have been selected by the organizers. I only found out the day COP26 started and was very proud.

5. What is the one takeaway message you would like audiences to leave with after viewing any of your work?

We can all change the world and our actions do matter. Even if the reality is that it is big companies and governments that need to lead the change, they are driven by demand, consumer preferences, and trends. Any individual can provoke change. We need to be informed and educated so that we can make the right choices, buy the right products, and vote for the right governments. Don’t let anyone hold you back and make sure you follow your passion.