Waterloo bridge, Claude Monet 1901.
The Topic of sustainability is quite a popular one in art with many artists taking inspiration from their environments and surroundings. Claude Monet had a very environmental appeal with his work and took a lot of inspiration from a smog covered London in 1901. According to an article from the Guardian (Monet’s obsession with London fog, 2021), Monet had an obsession with how the fog swirled over London and he had paid three visits to watch and paint how the fog rose over London’s sky, he exclaimed “without fog London would not be Beautiful”. he took beauty in such an ugly sight to the average person, in the early 1900’s London wasn’t full of skyscrapers as it is today but massive factories constantly throwing smoke and fog into the air with pollution in each breathe, although compared to 1901 worldwide there are many more factories than before with countries such as China and the USA leading a massive role in supplying these goods worldwide at a vast rate. Only an artist like Monet could take beauty in such a sight but how he carefully captured each whirl of smoke and the hues of grey and brown contrasting from the bright blues and yellows of the sky behind is a marvel to see. The painting attached is my personnel favourite of the series of paintings depicting London and it is a view from the upper floors of the Savoy hotel overlooking Waterloo Bridge.
In my opinion I think this painting is raw and isn’t one bit sugarcoated, you can clearly see the environmental effect of pollution caused by the mass production and over consumption we cause as human beings, while Monet did find beauty in the fog through its constant changing form in the sky, we know that smoke and fog is a very dangerous form of pollution, it causes disease, it burns holes in our Ozone layer, pollutes our water sources and can even stop trees and crops growing sufficiently amongst many more detrimental effects.
According to an article by (Air Pollution and Climate Change, 2021) “Air pollution and climate change are closely related. As well as driving climate change, the main cause of CO2 emissions – the extraction and burning of fossil fuels – is also a major source of air pollutants”. The pollution we throw into out sky is one of the main causes of climate change and its rapidly reducing the sustainability of our planet and with such a fast paced rate of climate change it will be very difficult to ever turn this around and it’s doubtful that we ever will reverse the damage we have been inflicting for Hundreds of years now.
Edith Meusnier is an environmental textile artist who takes a lot of inspiration from her small home village in Picardy France which is surrounded by forests and greenery. Edith states that “My forest environment feeds my imagination and envelops me on a daily basis.”, she takes comfort in the forest around her and uses it as an escape from the outside world of trouble and devastation, she enjoys the natural environment and the calmness around her.
Her art forms come in massive installations and Edith uses the elegance and versatility of textiles to bring her voice within nature she keeps her creations in the open air, exposed to rain, wind, sun, and more showing how the natural world can cause damage through weather and more so in recent years through the ever so dramatic effects of climate change. You can find her installations in forests, ponds, and courtyards they bring more light and colour in a world of light and colour. “I draw ephemeral parentheses in the landscape.”
Edith makes her installations using recycled materials such as threads and fibres and she wraps them carefully around a large sprang creating amazingly intricate geometric loops and shapes throughout her plaiting and intertwining processes. (Attanasio, 2021). Edith explains this as she is adding to the natural landscape with artificial creation she has made and letting both coexist in the natural landscape side by side by bringing her art into the highest form of art, nature itself.
I really enjoy Edith’s work as it works alongside the natural beauty of the world and uses recycled materials but also serves as a reminder to climate change in how the works become weakened by harsh weather. I love how she uses her art as a joyous escape from pollution and climate change while also shedding light on it. Focusing on the natural earth around us is a great inspiration to get ourselves into gear and try and keep intact the integrity and sustainability of our planet, we need to see the beauty in what’s real and stop making and abusing what is fake. The use of the forest in the pieces show the full rich beautiful trees and the art almost magnifying their importance while in contrast so much deforestation is happening globally which is actively ruining our landscapes and cutting off our supply of oxygen slowly but surely. We need to learn to respect our landscapes it’s not all about fossil fuels and carbon emissions it’s much broader than that, we need to be sustainable in every aspect of the word we need to plant more trees, protect our sceneries and stop recklessly cutting forests down. Trees are the lungs of the earth and serve to protect us we shouldn’t use them as a profit to make products from.
Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies. 2021. Air Pollution and Climate Change. [online] Available at: <https://www.iass-potsdam.de/en/output/dossiers/air-pollution-and-climate-change> [Accessed 4 May 2021].
Attanasio, R., 2021. Edith Meusnier — an environmental artist inspired by forests. [online] The Global Fool. Available at: <https://theglobalfool.com/edith-meusnier-an-environmental-artist-inspired-by-forests/> [Accessed 4 May 2021].
the Guardian. 2021. Monet’s obsession with London fog. [online] Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/feb/19/monets-obsession-with-london-fog-weatherwatch> [Accessed 4 May 2021].
Tate. 2021. Claude Monet 1840–1926 | Tate. [online] Available at: <https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/claude-monet-1652> [Accessed 4 May 2021].
Textile Curator. 2021. Edith Meusnier – Textile Curator. [online] Available at: <https://www.textilecurator.com/home-default/home-2-2/edith-meusnier/> [Accessed 4 May 2021].
Sustainability – Pollution
“Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (“Sustainability means meeting our own needs without …”) When researching what I could write on, I came across Sue Lipscombe and Pawel Kuczynski.
Pollution is the introduction of harmful materials into the environment. These harmful materials are called pollutants. Pollutants can be natural, such as volcanic ash. They can also be created by human activity, such as trash or runoff produced by factories. Pollutants damage the quality of air, water, and land. (“pollution | National Geographic Society”)
Ocean Pollution – Sue Lipscombe – ‘Bristol Whales’
More than 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals die from plastic pollution every year. Over 2 million tons of plastic packaging are used in the UK each year. “88% of the sea’s surface is polluted by plastic waste.” (“Plastic Waste is Everywhere, in All The Oceans – OCEAN …”) Between 8 to 14 million tons enters our ocean every year.
While there are many great pieces of artwork address the ongoing issues of single-use plastics, by creatively designing structures, paintings, and drawings interpreting what life currently looks like involving plastic. I chose to look at “Bristol Whales” designed by Sue Lipscombe. The whale structure presents a “larger than life” whale diving into a sea of plastic. (“Artist Review: Taking a Dive into Plastic | Swimming in …”)
The six-ton sculpture depicts a blue whale and a humpback whale swimming through an ocean of “upcycled” bottles, collected from the Bath Half Marathon and Bristol 10k race. The whale itself was sculpted by locally grown willow. The bottles are used to representthe ocean that whales are currently living in threating the world’s oceans and marine life. “While the structure is made up of many plastic bottles, the idea of plastic pollution also focuses on plastic bags and different food and drink packaging.” (“Artist Review: Taking a Dive into Plastic | Swimming in …”)
The whale structure was designed to mark Bristol as a “European Green Capital.” A spokesperson of Green Capital stated “Britons spent over £1.5bn on bottled water every year and sent 15 million bottles to landfill every day, and globally eight million tons of plastic ended up in oceans each year – equivalent to the body weight of 45,000 blue whales.” These whales, as well as other marine life, suffer from the abundance of harmful plastic floating in the ocean. We need to educate people on how to reduce their plastic consumption in order to prevent these issues from worsening. After reading about “Bristol Whales,” I learned how the structure is encouraging people to reduce their number of single-use plastics in order to help the ocean from future harm. (“Artist Review: Taking a Dive into Plastic | Swimming in …”)
Sue Lipscombe chose to use a whale in her sculpture as she states they are “intelligent, beautiful, charismatic animals,” explaining how whales represent the world’s oceans. “These whales have the strength to recover from the dangers of plastic, as long aseveryone does their part in helping to protect them” (“Artist Review: Taking a Dive into Plastic | Swimming in …”)
Air Pollution – Pawel Kuczynski – Air Pollution
“Air pollution is defined as the addition of various hazardous chemicals, particulate matter, toxic substances and biological organisms into the Earth’s atmosphere.” (“Air Pollution Caused by Industries | Eco Coalition”) These air pollutants can be harmful and has an impact on the environment. I found out that the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA conducted a study, that they found out that industrial pollution accounts for approximately 50% of the pollution. “There are numerous serious ecological implications and health risks associated with industrial air pollution.” (“Manufacturing industries or industrial expansion”)
Pawel drawings are creative and so powerful because they force us to face some of the worst social problems of our times. The dark illustrations are beautiful – not in a flowers-and-sunlight kind of way, but in a brutally truthful way. (“Thought-Provoking Satirical Illustrations By Pawel …”) His satire addresses war, political manipulation and hypocrisy, environmental damage, economic disparity, and many other ills facing humanity today. The images strike just the right balance between evident and complicated. (“Thought-Provoking Satirical Illustrations By Pawel …”)
The reason I chose Pawel Kuczynski is because he uses satire and illustration to convey a message, he pokes fun at global issues. I like how Pawel does not try to sugar coat it. Yes, the way he addresses it is funny, but the message is a powerful one. The piece which I have chosen comes from a series called ‘Air Pollution’ In the illustration Ipicked shows a man painting a sun onto a black cloud of smoke. This is Pawel representing everyday pollution and showing how we just try to cover it up and pretend it is not there, which I think is an appropriate representation of the world we live in.
Sustainability means meeting our own needs without …, https://www.coursehero.com/file/84375169/Sustainability-means-meeting-our-own-needs-without-compromising-the-ability-of-future-generations-to/.
Artist Review: Taking a Dive into Plastic | Swimming in …, http://blogs.cofc.edu/swimming-in-plastic-soup/2019/11/03/artist-review-taking-a-dive-into-plastic/.
pollution | National Geographic Society, https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/pollution/.
How does walking and cycling help to protect the …, https://www.sustrans.org.uk/our-blog/get-active/2020/in-your-community/how-does-walking-and-cycling-help-to-protect-the-environment/.
10 things you can do to help reduce air pollution today …, https://www.sustrans.org.uk/our-blog/get-active/2020/in-your-community/10-things-you-can-do-to-help-reduce-air-pollution-today/.
Air Pollution Caused by Industries | Eco Coalition, http://ecocoalition.org/air-pollution-caused-by-industries/.
Manufacturing industries or industrial expansion, https://www.slideshare.net/sumitsam791/manufacturing-industries-or-industrial-expansion.
Thought-Provoking Satirical Illustrations By Pawel …, https://www.boredpanda.com/satirical-illustrations-pawel-kuczynski-2/.
“Sustainable” according to the Cambridge dictionary is defined as “causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time”. Sustainable art as defined by Academia.Edu“Sustainable art and the community Sustainable art is an expression, which recently has been raised as an art term. Artists must consider and work with the environment around, engaging the people, the place and the community as a whole.” Finding ways to be sustainable is more important now than ever before. As climate change is on the rise, discovering ways to be sustainable is crucial to our environment. In the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, core goals have been created that must be meet in order to create a more sustainable plant. Goal twelve states that “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.” (United Nations (2015). The artists that I will showcase both use methods of sustainability, which we can learn from and adopt in our own practices.
Examples of sustainable Art
There are many ways artists can be sustainable, many art forms such as land art like Agnes Denes – tree mountain, closed-Loop Fashion, upcycling, and renewable energy sculptures. Entire organizations have been created with the goal of joining art and renewable energy together, the Land art Generator initiative is one of them. Their goal is “to accelerate the transition to post-carbon economies by providing models of renewable energy – add value to public space – while providing equitable power.” (Invaluable. (2019). This Shows how compatible art and sustainability can be, that both can co-exist and improve from each other. For example, many claimed that wind turbines are eyesores, but if wind turbines were created with art in mind like Daan roosegaarde’s wind turbines.
Stainless steel, soil and flowering plants
40 feet 8 3/16 inches x 27 feet 2 3/4 inches x 29 feet 10 1/4 inches (12 meters 40 cm x 830 cm x 910 cm)
One of the artists that I would like to focus on is Jeff Koons, he is most notable for his balloon dogs. His breakout as an artist happen in the mid-1980s and he wanted to conceive the idea that “the meaning of art in a media-saturated era – With his stated artistic intention to “communicate with the masses,” (The Guggenheim Museum). He has further carried the theme for dogs in his work Puppy (1992). Puppy is a 40 feet tall statue of a dog, it was created with stainless steel, 23 tons of soil, and 60,000 flowering plants. I think this art piece shows how art can integrate into nature, this piece, in particular, has marigolds that are beneficial to pollinating insects. Again, intertwining nature, art, and man-made structures showing that they can co-exist with wildlife. Supporting and encouraging a collaboration of sustainability among artists, which will further promote sustainability to the wider public. I think incorporating organic structures into cities is important as most wildlife habits are concreted over, leaving the ability for wildlife to thrive not possible. Many cities commission for art pieces to be created and encouraging artists to include elements of sustainability whether that be using recycled materials or nature will overall promote sustainability and promote a more collaborative lifestyle for people and the environment. Puppy needs care throughout the year, as flowers are changed, and water is provided for them. It shows the care we need to give to the earth as well and how being sustainable is one of the key factors to achieve that. One criticism of Jeff Koons work can be that the materials used were not recycled, therefore using up resources. Making the piece not 100 percent sustainable, at least going by the definition of the Cambridge dictionary. If this piece was mass-produced it would further used up resources and could be argued that it is very unsustainable. However, in my opinion, the long-lasting impression and message the puppy stands for outweighs the negative short-term consequences.
Acrylic, old paper, and mixed media on wood panel
23 3/4 x 59 1/4 inches
The next artist I would like to discuss is Gavin Ziegler, he is based in New York and trained under Bunn Gray who a creative visual artist. Galvin completed his undergraduate studies in Art History at Fordham University. His entire portfolio of work is created by collecting checks, stock certificates, financial documents, old paper, and other forms of mixed media. He puts these items into a collage before sanding and painting over them. The result is a beautiful area of interesting shapes and colors. This work relates to sustainability by the artwork itself being sustainable, Ziegler has found a way to take what would be seen as rubbish and turns it into experimental and abstract art. Since his methods requires most of his materials to be reused items. His work becomes a collage of sustainability and shows how easy it is to produce works of art with sustainable methods. “A need for sustainability has been shown by the public, as a survey done by the IFACCA has shown that “Over half of respondents (14 of 23) consider environmental sustainability to be relevant”. This shows that the general public wants sustainable art and that there is a market for it. However, usually when a market does appearspeople will exploit it for profit and things like greenwashing can happen. Greenwashing when defined by Research gate states that “The growing prominence of green advertising has led to an increased confusion in the minds of the consumers about the green claims used in numerous advertisements.” Artists like Galvin Ziegler can be taken advantage of and have his work turned in a scam. That lives under the idea that the consumer is buying “recycled” and “sustainable” art. When in reality the artwork was mash produced in order to meet the demands of the public who want sustainable art.
Cambridge Dictionary (2019). SUSTAINABLE | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary. [online] Cambridge.org. Available at: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/sustainable.
United Nations (2015). Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development | Department of Economic and Social Affairs. [online] United Nations. Available at: https://sdgs.un.org/2030agenda.
highlike.org (n.d.). Agnes Denes. [online] highlike. Available at: https://highlike.org/text/agnes-denes/ [Accessed 3 May 2021].
Invaluable. (2019). What Does Sustainability Mean for the Art World? [online] Available at: https://www.invaluable.com/blog/sustainability-and-art/.
landartgenerator.org. (n.d.). Land Art Generator. [online] Available at: https://landartgenerator.org/project.html [Accessed 3 May 2021].
Miller, M. (2016). Daan Roosegaarde’s Latest: Turning Wind Turbines Into Light Art. [online] Fast Company. Available at: https://www.fastcompany.com/3057817/daan-roosegaarde-transforms-wind-turbines-into-art-with-lasers [Accessed 3 May 2021].
www.youtube.com. (n.d.). The Big Picture: Koons’ “Puppy” Deconstructed. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzUp2VG–E0 [Accessed 3 May 2021].
Guggenheim. (2019). Puppy. [online] Available at: https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/48.
Unit, S.D. (n.d.). Sustainable Art. www.academia.edu. [online] Available at: https://www.academia.edu/7114761/Sustainable_Art [Accessed 3 May 2021].
ResearchGate. (n.d.). (PDF) GREENWASHING: A Study on the Effects of Greenwashing on Consumer Perception and Trust Build-Up. [online] Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331630061_GREENWASHING_A_Study_on_the_Effects_of_Greenwashing_on_Consumer_Perception_and_Trust_Build-Up.
This is an exhibition showing the theme of sustainability and how it can be incorporated into art, making artwork that is aesthetically pleasing to its audience and still eco-friendly. The topic of sustainability is so important and also results in some of the most entrancing and unique artwork produced.
“Flight” by Derek Gores, 24” by 24”
Collage mounted under acrylic glass
Derek Gores is an American visual artist who creates interesting portraits on canvas by using recycled paper with magazines, newspapers, maps and data. Gores states that he “enjoys the contrast between timeless beauty and disposable materials” and that the throwaway materials can be reused by anyone. (Derek Gores, 2019). I like that this artist’s work is heavily influenced by sustainability as I feel it encourages viewers to question the sustainability and ecological process of every man-made object they see, as well as the artist’s work. I have included an example here of Derek Gores’ artwork which is called ‘Order Genus Species.’ The piece features the image of a butterfly from faraway, but up close viewers can notice that actually the picture is made up of lots of tiny pieces of scrap paper to create one big image. I really love the effect of this kind of collage work which is so advanced and detailed compared to others I have come across. One thing that really sparked my interest was the many different shades, tones and colours used to give an extremely detailed and realistic effect to the artwork, making it that much more elaborate and artistic. Derek Gores is definitely my favourite artist that uses collage. How Derek Gores uses collage in his art is what I think makes his work so different from everyone else as he uses it in a very personal way, leading to highly valuable pieces of artwork. Josh Garrick would also support this as he talks about how Gores can never fully plan what his art might look like. This is partly because of “the never-ending supply of colours and images produced in magazines and flyers that offer themselves for recycling.”(Josh Garrick, 2011). I really love this idea and I think that this artist supports the concept of sustainability extremely well whilst still producing beautiful art. He combines the natural beauty of the human figure, the aesthetic of fashion, the angular design of machinery, and a fearless sense of play into his creations. Gores states that he likes his pictures to barely come together at all with small teasing details.” In Gores’ artwork, some of the bits of paper are deliberately chosen and placed there, but most of the art piece is randomly put together to help build a more interesting end result. Gores supports this idea when describing his disinterest in heavy concepts which many viewers agree with. He states that he likes to make something simple and let the parts combine in the minds of the viewers and audience. The fact that all his art is made from recycled materials is what I believe makes his work so important as every project is sustainable and even more creative. Recycled art has many benefits for the planet such as contributing to the use and extending the useful life of materials for art. This reduces the amount of waste generated. It takes someone very skillful to work with these materials which Makes Derek Gores that much more impressive to viewers.
Barry Underwood, taken as part of “This Land is your Land” exhibition
Barry Underwood is an environmental photographer and also an ecological advocate and he pursues and explores the natural landscape and its connection to the presence of humans, which supports my theme of sustainability. His great interest in the environment and social history of natural places on earth is what really drives his art. I have included an example of one of his photographs here which is part of the “This Land is Your Land” exhibition in 2017. The name of this was derived from the folksong by Woody Guthrie. The songs original lyrics introduced a critical perspective to the idealistic view of America as Underwood’s images challenge the common bucolic perception of the landscape. Barry Underwood really aims to transform ordinary, everyday things and objects into unique, and surreal, experiences through his art. His installation process, which uses actual structures and can take up to several days to complete, and his documentation, employing long exposure times to harness the area’s ambient light, rely as much on his ability to perfectly collaborate with nature as disrupt it. He aims for his work to be a platform for conversations concerning environmental issues, using tropes of aesthetic beauty to reach across binary ideological lines which is why I thought it was important to study him. Each of his photographs is a sort of dialogue to the viewer to interpret. Barry Underwood feels that the ending result of his cultural and historical art research ties in with his direct encounter with nature. The photographic prints are “highly aestheticized poetic gestures, emphasizing the interrelationship between the underlying terrain and human incursions into a given location.” Barry Underwood’s work is the kind of art that really draws people’s attention because of the placing of it and also the vibrant lights and size. One thing that I think really makes this artist’s work so interesting is that it is so original which is something hard to do. His work can inspire viewers to look at familiar landscapes they have seen many times and view them in a completely different way with new eyes, especially when so many pictures have been taken of the landscapes before. Barry Underwood has shown that landscapes can be made more interesting with his imagination. With the use of neon lights and photographic effects, the artist alters the atmosphere and perception of natural scenery. (Author unknown, 2018). Underwood Strives to foster awareness of environmental change by engaging viewers in playful interactions offering a novel lens through which to consider the impact of human action on the planet. (Barry Underwood, 2011). He also does not cause Any damage or harm to the environment which Makes his art completely sustainable.