Own World © Jerico Santander
It’s Earth Day everyone – a day established to inspire awareness and appreciation for the earth and our environment. Founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in in 1970, Earth day is now celebrated on April 22nd in almost every country around the globe.
In celebration of Earth Day 2010, I present five artists whose work raises awareness about our relationship with the earth and/or use materials and resources in an eco-friendly way to create their art.
First, what is environmental art? According to GreenMuseum.org, eco-art is “in a general sense, it is art that helps improve our relationship with the natural world. Some environmental art:
- Informs and interprets nature and its processes, or educates us about environmental problems.
- Is concerned with environmental forces and materials, creating artworks affected or powered by wind, water, lightning, even earthquakes.
- Re-envisions our relationship to nature, proposing new ways for us to co-exist with our environment.
- Reclaims and remediates damaged environments, restoring ecosystems in artistic and often aesthetic ways.
And now the artists:
1. Sara Hall: Glass Artist – Hall’s recent work in architectural glass focuses on the integration of art and solar technology. Energy that is gathered through the solar cells is used to illuminate both the artwork and its surroundings at night. Hall says, “By forging an image with a source of renewable energy, we create a powerful story about how we can live in this world: It gives us a chance to dream about who we can be.” See more at SaraHallStudio.com.
2. Chris Jordan: Photography/Digital Art – Jordan’s photographs and digital photo compilations depict images of western culture’s consumerism revealing the startling statistics of our daily consumption. He transforms the data about everyday items such as paper cups, cell phones, plastic bottles, and other mass produced goods, and makes large-format, long-zoom artwork. “Collectively we are committing a vast and unsustainable act of taking, but we each are anonymous and no one is in charge or accountable for the consequences. I fear that in this process we are doing irreparable harm to our planet and to our individual spirits.” See more at Chris Jordan.com. An inspiring TED talk is featured on Daily Art Fixx here.
3. John Dahlsen: Environmental Assemblage Art – Australian artist Dahlsen creates works of art from the vast quantities of plastic and litter washed up along the Victorian coastline. Dahlsen says, “Making this art has been a way of sharing my messages for the need to care for our environment with a broad audience. I feel that even if just a fraction of the viewing audience were to experience a shift in their awareness and consciousness about the environment and art, through being exposed to this artwork then it would be worth it.” See more at JohnDahlsen.com.
4. Laurie Chetwood: Architecture – Chetwood’s “Urban Oasis” opened on 19th June 2006 as a temporary structure on Clerkenwell Green and is a demonstration of sustainability and renewable energy working. The 12 metre high kinetic structure mimics the design of a growing flower: its photovoltaic “petals” open and close in response to the sun and the moon utilizing daylight to generate power. This is supplemented by a hydrogen fuel cell and wind turbine to make it self-sufficient. It even uses rainwater it has collected for irrigation and cooling. At the base, the Oasis has five “pods” inside which people are secluded from the noisy and polluted city surroundings, enjoying cleaner cooled air and relaxing sounds. See more at Chetwoods.com. See the Oasis in action here on YouTube.
5. Aurora Robson: Sculpture – New York based artist Robson uses everyday waste such as discarded plastic bottles and junk mail to create intricate sculptures, installations, and collages. In the past year, Robson has intercepted about 30,000 bottles, saving them from their ultimate destination at the landfill or costly recycling plants. The fate of her junk mail follows a similar path and have now become part of her stunning ink collages. Robson’s environmentally conscious works grew out of her love and appreciation for nature and from the nightmares she had as a child. Her goal is to “take something inherently negative and transform it into something positive.” Her art is “ultimately about recognizing and embracing new possibilities while encouraging others to do the same.” See more at AuroraRobson.com.
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