Everybody’s a critic— even of nature’s majesty. That’s what North Carolina artist Amber Share realized when she started looking at the one-star comments she found among reviews for the national parks. These inspired her to create national parks art and the Instagram page “Subpar Parks.”
“I was looking for a new side project, and then one day I saw something on Reddit about one-star reviews of the national parks,” Amber says. “I knew that was it, and then it really started falling together.”
The resulting national parks art posters are pretty hilarious and gorgeous—Amber is a great illustrator who does her own lettering. She hastens to add that she actually loves all parks, national monuments, wildlife refuges, and public lands. Growing up in a Navy family, she moved around a lot and would check out national parks wherever the family landed.
Amber’s parents encouraged her love of art by letting her find her own passions.
“I grew up with a mom who is super creative and crafty,” Amber says. “When I was in kindergarten, I declared I was going to be an artist when I grow up and drive a Jeep Wrangler.”
She’s still working on getting the Jeep, but Amber says she’s really grateful to have parents with a #LetThem approach who let her explore her passions on her own.
“Both my parents didn’t really put their expectations on us on what we should do,” Amber says. “My dad is more of an engineer-type, and he was really supportive of his kids’ interests that maybe he didn’t initially share.”
Amber remembers being a kid and wanting to do art instead of homework. She would always try to find a way to draw her name in an interesting way, or add a little doodle before she would turn in an assignment.
Kids: Keep doodling, creating, and making.
Her goal now, Amber says, is to create national parks art for all 62 national parks, highlighting something from a one-star rating for each of them. She’s done about 18 so far, and since she’s still working a full-time job, her current pace is about two new parks a week. You can see her new art on her Instagram, and she usually posts Wednesdays and Fridays.
“Today with budget cuts, arts are one of the first things to go,” Amber says. So she urges parents to keep encouraging their kids to find, draw, explore and create. “There are so many ways to use art and get your creativity to do what you want in life. There are so many kids that don’t see value in that, but it’s worthwhile.”