Abrian Curington

Abrian Curington

Science Communication Fellow
Illustrator and Cartographer

Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?

I am an illustrator, dedicated to producing engaging graphic novels, illustrated prose and maps that ignite curiosity, and champion fun and adventure. Recently, I have renewed my love for deep space and ocean sciences and have turned my attention toward GIS cartography and visual storytelling for science communication.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I grew up having so many interests! As teenagers, we are encouraged to pick a path, and I had long decided that I would pursue art, even though I was equally interested in the sciences. Eventually, I realized that all of my interests actually did have something in common: the magic of exploration and wonder! So, I folded my fiction illustration career into the exploration of our real world, and work on tales both real and imagined.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My mother always felt that, whatever I chose to do, it should be founded on creativity. She always encourages my very analytical and risk-averse self to take risks and favor my curiosity.

What element of your work/study do you think is the most fascinating?

As an illustrator, I get to learn about all sorts of things! Even within one project, I can learn about a variety of creatures, how currents work, geology, ROV mechanics, etc. I really get to enjoy being curious.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

As an illustrator, every job I have requires me to use visuals to tell a story. So, even creating fantasy graphic novels, led up to working as a science communicator! My first science-forward position, was as an Artist-at-Sea aboard the R/V Falkor, though I have woven science communication into my work, informally, for years. This led to applying for E/V Nautilus Science Communication Fellowship, and an opportunity to present at the Ocean Sciences Meeting 2020 as well as taking a short GIS Cartography program.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Arts -- Western Washington University, 2011; GIS Cartography Fundamentals Certificate -- University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2020

What are your hobbies?

I am a tai chi instructor, in addition to studying the internal martial art baguazhang. I also still enjoy all the things from when I was younger, like making instruments, reading, and creating fantasy comics.

How did you get involved with the Ocean Exploration Trust?

While aboard the R/V Falkor as an Artist-at-Sea, one of the science team members suggested that I also apply to be on a similar position on E/V Nautilus. I did some research on the Nautilus Live website, and applied for the Science Communication Fellowship, once they opened later in the year.

What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?

Embrace all the things you like to do. It may take some time to put them all together, but in the end, you’ll be doing something that you’re really excited about! Don’t worry if the path feels winding, or if you have to work seemingly unrelated jobs here and there. It will all tie together eventually. Everything we do gives us skills, and living life gives us a well of stories to draw from. Don't be afraid to take the leap and apply for things. You never know what will happen!


Abrian participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: