Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. As temperatures continue to rise, animal habitats, wildlife and whole cities are at risk of being destroyed. Climate change is one of those issues that every one of us is affected by, and so it is of the utmost importance that we all do what we can to help save our planet. Artists are trying to contribute to this movement by incorporating sustainability into their creative process. Here are 5 ways that artists can make art while still being environmentally friendly and sustainable:
1. Use environmentally friendly art supplies: Certain paints have toxic chemicals that can be incredibly harmful to the environment. As people have become more aware of this, the market for non-toxic environmentally friendly paints has grown. Nowadays you can easily purchase paints made from all-natural ingredients. When it comes to paintbrushes, synthetic ones made with plastic components can take up to 1000 years to degrade. Therefore artists should look for paintbrushes made with natural materials such as bamboo, corn or Hala tree roots. Another way to be an environmentally friendly artist is to use recycled paper instead of fresh paper for sketches and paintings.
2. Partake in artistic activism: By creating artworks that speak out on the imminent dangers of climate change, artists can raise awareness and stir action. A famous example of an artwork with a strong message about climate change is ‘Melting Panthers’ by Bob Partington. Partington built a wax statue depicting a mother panther along with her cub. The statue eventually began to melt under the sun and the panthers slowly disintegrated, leaving behind a short message that said ‘more heat, less wildlife’. The dramatic melting of the panthers was symbolic of how climate change will slowly destroy habitats and wildlife. Unique artworks like this can capture people’s attention and get them to understand how serious the environmental situation is today.
3. Switch to green packaging materials: When paintings and other artworks are sold, they often have to be shipped across long distances. To protect them from damage, they are typically covered with bubble wrap, tape and other plastic-based materials. Such materials are harmful to the environment as they take thousands of years to degrade and end up in landfills and bodies of water where they endanger the local wildlife. Instead, artists can switch to other environmentally friendly packaging materials such as recycled cardboard, pulp and biodegradable packing materials.
4. Recycling and Upcycling: Instead of discarding unwanted paper or plastic materials, artists can ensure to have recycling bins to properly segregate and recycle any waste. Another way for artists to be eco-friendly is to reuse old or unwanted paintings by simply painting over the canvas with gesso and then creating their new artworks on them. You can also be resourceful and use old materials that would normally be thrown out, such as scraps and broken items to create new artwork. This is known as ‘upcycling’ Indeed, the term ‘upcycling’ is the new eco-friendly buzzword. Upcycling involves taking unwanted items or waste materials to create something new and even better. Artists can upcycle everything from plastic bottles to furniture pieces to create unique art pieces.
5. Properly handling paint: If you are using paints that contain toxic and harmful chemicals, it is crucial to ensure that you don’t let them escape into the environment. Simply washing your paintbrushes in the sink means that the harmful toxins can pollute your water supply, endangering both residents and local fish. You also should not wash them off onto the ground as this can damage the soil, plants and wildlife. To properly and safely clean off your paintbrushes, you should first wipe them down using old scraps of cloth. Then, you should clean them in a bucket of water. Once they are clean, you can leave that bucket with the dirty paint water aside. After a few days, the water will evaporate, leaving behind a little bit of paint sludge containing the leftover paint solids. You can then simply wipe the paint solids away with old cloth. Using this method, you ensure that no paint is getting into the drainage system.
At Artezaar.com, our artists have been creating Sustainable Art Pieces. You can view some of the pieces here on our website.
We also teach kids how to recycle leftover clay from our clay hand-building classes! Clay art is amazing not only because of how fun and creative it is but also because non fired clay can be fully recycled fairly easily and used once again to create more pottery pieces.
Book Art and Painting Classes and Workshops on Artezaar.com Art Gallery Dubai UAE.
Blog Post written by Artezaar Staff Writer Shreya Alagramam.