Eco Art

Exploring eco friendly nature inspired art making.

In conjuction with Wild Fragments Exhibition

ART WALKTHROUGH & CONVERSATION
Sat 16 July 2022
2 pm – 4 pm
Explore nature inspired artworks, discuss and discover experiments in eco-friendly art making.


A collection of links and references I've come across on the web relating to art, the environment and nature.

They are just for information purposes and links are credited.

What is Eco Art

For me eco art is a combination of art made with recycled or sustainable materials and methods or supports an environmentally friendly message visually or conceptually.

Sustainable art is art in harmony with the key principles of sustainability, which include ecology, social justice, non-violence and grassroots democracy. Wikipedia

Also art using natural or recycled materials or in support of environmental issues in creative ways.
Read more here about Sustainability For The Art World from keiseimagazine.com

Also trying to be more responsible in the use of materials and ways I engage in artmaking. Basically to protect and conserve the natural world which I appreciate.

It isn't easy to find alternative solutions to being an eco friendly artist but will include here some information i've discovered. More research and action is needed but just to make a start.

The practice of making art comes with a set of materials and processes that consume quite a lot. So finding alternatives to all these require conscious efforts and a bit of extra time. To choose environmental concerns, accountability for actions, what are the impact and possible solutions in our routine.

Reuse – upcycle – repurpose – recycle || Every little bit counts and adds up.

In our connections to nature... thinking about rewilding concepts as well as the WWF reference on making changes in our daily life to save our planet with the following points: “Rewild. Rebalance. Recover : Explore and restore nature locally” [Inspiring Ref: ourplanet.com how to rewild our planet]

Spreading the message - Awareness with a Visual Impact || People are more convinced when they realise something visually or if there is a compelling narrative as its easier to absorb or more relatable than reading scientific data.

Ways on making more eco friendly art or just being more environmentally aware in our practice is different for each of us.

In doing some research and reading to understand the topic, this page will list some issues or options in our Art Practice and Process as well as in the Materials and Methods we use in creating art. From sourcing sustainable materials - to using and wasting less. The whole art eco-system can contribute to making changes.

Already so many creatives are tackling the subject in their projects here in Singapore and globally. Some ideas on alternative ways we can create from digital artworks to socially engaged and community practices.

Learning from conversations and discussions on the issues to bring more awareness for ourselves and to spread the message to others.

Just being inspired by nature and the many different expressions artists have been creating.

Feel free to contact me for any feedback or comments.

Art Practice - Process

The whole artistic process from the materials we use in the production through to delivery and presentation has a carbon footprint. Actions artists can take - challenges and opportunities to make the journery more eco-friendly.

IN THE STUDIO

studio

Materials , Medium and Tools See following section

Ventilation : I prefer to work in a studio with fans and open windows. This helps with air flow as oil paints and solvents can smell and release chemicals as they evaporate. So not good to breathe in for your health. There is a low odour option (biodegradable, low toxicity) but still keep turpentine well covered and only use when necessary.

Lights : It would be nice to have totally natural light during the day as we have a lot of sun. However, most rooms require some ligthing so turn off the lights when out for awhile.

Clean up : Try and use old newspaper to wipe off excess oil paints to dispose and not wash down any drains. Also recycle paper instead of paper towels if possible. Larger quantities of paint may need special hazardous waste disposal (See NEA)

Obstacles - Challenges due to time and existing materials or more costly or no good alternatives available.

Work and source things locally where possible.
Travel and site based projects can have a carbon footprint. Find ways to reduce and offset these.

CONTENT

Making stuff with a purpose - This could be by spreading awareness of Eco Issues
or getting involved with Community or social based Projects

ART ECO-SYSTEM

Building a more sustainable Art Eco system which supports eco friendly practices and provides easily accessible options to adopt. Also a Circularity use of resources and information. KNOWLEDGE BASE

GCC - Coalition Gallery Climate Coalition
Resources and Pledges with case studies of Gallery Footprints

Shipping and Travel. Transportation across the world for exhibitions art fairs.
Gallery display and storage. Lights aircon consumption temperature controlled environments.

Printed Materials : catalogues and marketing materials - print using soy based inks. FSC certified paper.

On a higher level instututions also Go green CNA : Museums go green

Schools / Education, Studios, Community
Better support is required to make enviro concerns a common practice.

Collectors : Some collectors hesitate on collecting paper works as they may not last.

Did you know that one of the most valuable pieces of art ever sold "The Scream" is painted on cardboard?
And artists have been combining all sorts of materials in their artworks from Picasso and Miro through to Robert Rauschenberg's Combines.
Recycling / Upcycling
stitched detail
singer sewing

Stitched fragments detail. Sewing and reusing canvas scraps into a new artwork.

Creative explorations using alternative materials and methods

My effort is to make art on a recycled base or repurposing scrap materials. While there is a concern on the longevity of the material, still the expression captured can still be conserved no matter the material. Nothing lasts forever and can always be maintained or restored if precious enough.

A base made from paper or material that can be more portable and rolled will save on transport and packaging. Perhaps not so easy to damage and can also be patched.

Wastage - Circularity

Some people have excess materials after a big project or extras when trying out a new hobby. Instead of throwing these away there is a Facebook group in Singapore called - ART DONT THROW where you can share or give away arts and craft materials.

Sometimes galleries after a big event or other artists who are clearing up have excess materials or wooden stretchers, frames to pass on. This mostly happens by word of mouth or even on Carousell

Repurposing

Old Clothes for Rags instead of paper towels
Bottles for storage
Plastic containers
Chopsticks

Using Sustainable Art Materials

Some useful books for a breakdown of materials and use
Artist Guide to Eco Friendly Art By Scott Denholm

The New Oil Painting : Your Essential Guide to Materials and Safe Practices by Kimberly Brooks Has a informative explanation on painting without solvents.

    eg.
  • Limit your carbon footprint by using thoughtful processes and environmentally conscious art supplies.
  • Artist quality “responsibly sourced” art supplies
  • Eliminate harmful solvents from your work and replace them with safe, effective substitutes.

Back to top

Materials and Medium

Creating art requires quite a list of materials. However some paints can contain harmful chemicals not just for the environment but even for humans. So care needs to be taken when using as well as disposing the remnants. There are ways we can adapt for a lighter footprint.

Paints and the environment on Artsy

The way I use oil paints is fairly thick and textural so I do not often have wastage or add solvents. Disposal is limited as I reuse the cleaning turpentine with alcohol a technique that another artist shared. So I don’t need to throw this out and when it settles can dispose of the solid paint waste responsibly.

Repurpose - Instead of dumping I usually use excess paint on paper to later tear up and use for collages.
Experiments can be reused in mixed media pieces.

Disposal of cleaning up water for acrylic or solvents for oils.

OIL PAINT

Paints can be toxic and need to be disposed of responsibly. Read the labels. Some pigments/colours are safe and some are more hazardous
There are some eco-friendly options but they are not widely available here.

From Daler Rowney. The tubes when cleaned are recyclable. The most environmentally friendly way of cleaning would be to put the washings into a sand bin. This prevents any washings from going to the sewer.

Oil paint is basically pigment and oil, and most pigments are perfectly safe. Read more >

Water Based paint Acrylics
acrylic plastic

Washing dried acrylics down the water drain is hazardous as it also contains microplastics which are an increasing pollutant in our eco system. I have tried sifting this and seen ways to absorb this with sand. So try to wipe off access residue on paper and throw it away properly instead. Read more on Sustain The Art

Store unused excess paint in glass bottles for later use.

Varnish and Sprays

These can be quite hazardous and should be used in well-ventilated areas and aerosals disposed of properly. Use more natural painted varnishes with low volatile organic compounds (VOC).

Tools

Paint brushes, palette knives, easels and palettes.
Invest in good tools and Take care of them - cleaning and storing - so they are generally used for awhile and not frequently disposed.

Framing

Wood for stretcher frames - Some framers do have an option for sustainable FSC sources. However it comes at a premium compared to locally sourced wood and may also have an import/travel carbon footprint.

Supplies

An art shop for creatives is like a candy store for kids. Its so tempting to buy new supplies and try out new mediums. Buy only what you need!

Canvas has a cloth base;
Cotton actually has a heavy production foot print while Linen has a less intensive production process and lasts longer however is more expensive.

Paper for sketching and drawing - purchase FSC paper (Forest Stewardship Council®)

Sourcing Eco friendly alternatives

Choose responsibly sourced materials.
However its not that easy to find the original source of materials for local materials as I've asked but unable to get clear answers from the art shop unless its a big brand which has some information on their company site. Sometimes we just have to use a limited supply

ribbon package
Packaging, Delivery and Storage

Storing and transporting, packaging is quite a big issue as protective materials are plastic based - bubble wrap, sticky tape. Not sure on a solution for this or if there are biodegradable options just for transport and longer lasting materials for storage. I try and keep bubble wrap clean and reuse if for just for 1 work by labelling.
Try using paper based tape or reusable string instead for smaller works.

Back to top

Projects In Singapore

Art can introduce a new perspective and change perceptions through various projects

ART AND NATURE

Plural artmag.com : Singapore's natural heritage/ A great feature with artist profiles exploring natural heritage in Singapore

Institute of Critical Zoologists

The Migrant Ecologies Project

Shoreseekers considers our relationship with plastics by Ayer Ayer Project

Rooting for Change: Artistic Responses to Climate Change and Sustainability at the National Museum of Singapore

Art of Sustainability by the Singapore International Foundation
Art of Sustainability uses arts and culture as a means to promote awareness and encourage the public to take action towards sustainable urban living.

UOB Art Explorer - Art At Home Session 16: Sustainable Art (Plastics) | In the Studio

https://wildd.sg/ (Singapore Wild Dot is a botanical inkmaking studio that specializes in creating with natural pigments found across Singapore.

Sustainability Guides

The Asia Europe Foundation on Art and the Environment n the region and beyond.
https://culture360.asef.org/themes/art-and-environment/ Including Creative Responses to Sustainability Guides - Singapore Guide.

ASEF Culture’s Role in Addressing the Climate Crisis 15 JUN 2022
Find out Ways the cultural sector can get involved in addressing the climate crisis.

Back to top

Projects Worldwide

Complex issues described in different ways. Creative way in storytelling to address issues, debate or raise questions. To Bring Awareness as well as Document issues and Ways to support climate action.

Response and Responsibility is a series focusing on creative responses to the climate crisis. Interesting articles and projects on www.itsnicethat.com.
Cop26 Environmentally conscious creatives : A great article on how creatives from all backgrounds are finding new ways to be more ecological when making work.

At their best, artists are still uniquely able to add meaning and generate empathy and perspective to the tangled web of climate discourse. 2021. theconversation.com

Culture360.asef Sustainablility Country Guides
Example of projects and what the art sector is doing in different countries.
https://culture360.asef.org/magazine/green-guide-uk/

Conversation with the Gallery Climate Coalition : https://galleryclimatecoalition.org/

ECO . ART . NATURE SHOWCASES

PARDICOLOR - Supports and showcases Art and Nature projects in South East Asia

Wild Craft (Foraging - Canada)
ecoartspace based in the US.

10 Creatives Making A Difference With Sustainable Art And Design on the Artling

EXHIBITIONS

Water/Fluidity - exploring alternative ways of thinking about our relationship to the world : whitechapel gallery ways of knowing

Korean Nature Art Biennale

Back to top

Alternatives

Digital Art

An alternative to using art materials is now to make digital art which can be viewed onscreen anywhere in the world. You can draw, paint, video and animate interactively using computers, tablets or mobile. While this has an electricity carbon cost it reduces any materials pollution and transportation.

Arts Help panel titled "Arts guiding the way to the Sustainable Development Goals"
Arts Help SDG action zone/ (Video)

This has a resource of Conscious Crypto Creator if you are interested in creating digital art and to learn more about "clean" NFT artworks. https://cleannfts.org/

TEZOS an energy efficient blockchain linked to more sustainable nft art.

FAE Art Adjacency Diagram
Future Art Ecosystems (FAE) Art x Metaverse x Advanced Technologies Credit: Image assets created for Future Art Ecosystems
ART TECH NATURE

Cloud Lightup SG
Mesh minds art city rethink nature

BeFantastic - https://befantastic.in/together-primer/

A diverse cohort of global practitioners seized the opportunity to learn and collaborate on new prototypes & exhibitable artworks around the theme of the climate crisis using technology and art (Techart). https://thelostpassage.art/

Creating and getting involved with Community and Socially engaged art see below.

ILLUSTRATIVE MESSAGES
studio Engaging people about climate justice through illustrations - Dorcas Tang.
Learn more about illustration with a social purpose on Domestika

An informative and illustrative instagram account Communicating sustainability visually. theweirdandwild and through www.climatecommons.asia

Back to top

Conversations / Discussions

ART AND NATURE SUSTAINABILITY

Art And Climate Change talks

art2030.org. Conversations on Art and Sustainability A great resource of information, videos and podcasts with thought-provoking discussions and interventions on art and sustainability.

SIFA Programme Archive : The paradox of art and climate change
SIFA Toolkit for climate change advocacy

climateconversations.sg

Resartis
open call for artists who are dedicated to sustainability and alternative art production

Although, our long-term objective with this program is to create an eco-art project, here are some of our short-term goals:

• To create an environment and offer the facilities conducive to creative work, integrated with nature, a place to experience new perspectives and acquire new references.

• Promoting international collaboration and networking, to bring together people from different fields to share and promote ecological and cultural sustainability.

• Embrace and emphasize the experimental, undefined, and unexpected states of creativity.

Spain https://iksvyart.com/projects/mar/

ONLINE TALKS

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/working-sustainably-art-environment-tickets-304718099037

The Hope Forum – ART 2030 for the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development and UNESCO ResiliArt | art2030.org Projects. Explore the speeches and panel in full.
“The art world can, and should, play a pivotal part in restoring the balance of our relationship with nature...” H.E. Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th General Assembly of the United Nations in his opening statement at The Hope Forum.
Back to top

Issues / Awareness

Art & Eco Messages

Art can also be used as a visual narrative to bringing awareness on the issues. Using AR technology to layer a video on the artworks

Microplastic Contaminents (Driftwood Blue)


To do = Bring your own bags, straws, cutlery so as to cut out single use plastics - dispose of plastic responsibly - recycle (NEA list of items that are recyclable and not) however check which types are ok for the blue bin

https://www.rebalance.earth/

On Deforestation (Driftwood Yellow)
Depicting a rough piece of wood the warped form is painted with yellow hues. AR highlighting the issues of deforestation and protecting tigers and their homes.
Drift Yellow

Deforestation on livescience
WWF Support Tiger Conservation

Ghost Nets (Flow freely)
A wavelike form reflecting on the sea threaded with string as a reflection on ghost nets that are lost at sea and cause damage and marine life to be trapped.
Flow Freely
Our oceans are haunted by ghost nets: Why that's scary and what we can do | Stories | WWF (worldwildlife.org)

Back to top

Message & Medium

Some of the issues I looked into by...
combining a handmade recycled paper object with a digital artwork AR overlaid with eco-messages. View resulting artworks:
WWW World Eco systems
A wild white whirl of clouds drift around the world. How we live in a circular eco system and that our actions impact our environment and eventually what goes around comes around. Our Planet needs rebalancing.
WWW World Our Planet

https://sciencing.com/lentic-lotic-ecosystems-7355077.html

The four ecosystem types are classifications known as artificial, terrestrial, lentic and lotic.

Forest - Wikipedia The main layers of all forest types are the forest floor, the understory, and the canopy. The emergent layer, above the canopy, exists in tropical rainforests. Each layer has a different set of plants and animals, depending upon the availability of sunlight, moisture, and food.

Eco-link Nature Corridors

Examples in Singapore and efforts made to bring back nature into urban areas or preserving pockets of remaining areas of biodiversity.


 

Other Artworks on Paper

Back to top

Community and Social Links

Inspire change socially - influencers to the community as well as higher up - (supply chain - systemic change - collective influence). Green activism. An intersection of Art and the Environment

Community and Social Art Projects

Working with the community, sustainable enterprises and socially engaged art projects.

Sustenarts | Insep - Sustainabiliy . Enterprise . Arts
introduced by the ArtsWok Greenhouse sessions

The Ayer Ayer Project - Ecologically-engaged Art

Arts Catalyst produces artist projects, research and public programmes at the intersections of art, health, ecology and economics. 

Viart SINGAPORE A growing movement that brings everyone together to make a positive impact on sustainable living through art.

Creative Activities and Nature
ENVIRONMENTAL NATURE LINKS

Informational sites with great info on the issues to understand and actions to take.
https://closertohome.wwf.sg/ - WWF in Singapore
and things you can do

Local issues explained and solutions
https://www.youtube.com/user/earthhoursg

Humans and Nature

Welcome to the Anthropocene an educational web portal on the Anthropocene. It aims to inspire, educate and engage people about the interactions between humans and the planet.

National Geographic on the anthropocene

On a larger scale platform Ecosperity Videos

The artist of today is more than an improved camera; he is more complex, richer, and wider. He is a creature on the earth and a creature within the whole, that is to say, a creature on a star among stars. Paul Klee Notebooks - The Thinking Eye
Back to top

Inspiration

Artists and creative eco expressions

http://www.marieleneudecker.co.uk/

http://www.hurrelvisualarts.com/

Danh Vo Presents: A Haven for Diverse Ecologies

Ann Blockley. Mixed Media Artist. Author of Creativity through Nature.

Gasworks Issay Rodriguez a research based project

https://juliesbicycle.com/category/case-study/ (creative climate action)

Sustainable Creatives

paulford environmental artist pathways

richard thomas terrae spatium

Mulyana’s playful and environmentally engaged art

studio
Eco - Activist Message
Making a strong statement for climate change.
Straits times : Icebergs illuminated to highlight climate change
Olafur Eliasson Ice watch
Artists who Repurpose materials or work with Found Objects

TATE UK : El Anatsui a sculptor who transforms recycled materials into striking large-scale installations.

Cecilia Vicuña on Art Basel and her Installation at the Venice Biennale using found objects and debris. In the 1960s, she created the term ‘Arte Precario’, which she defines as ‘acknowledgment of the precariousness of life, the precariousness of the beauty of being.’

Cecilia Vicuña: ‘The world of nature all over the planet is suffering because we are murdering it’.

Using Nature in Artmaking

Land or Environmental Art - Andy Goldsworthy Watch Rivers and Tides documentary

Earth Art - on The Art Story
Agnes Denes
Richard Long Art made by walking in Landscapes

John Wolseley Australian artist whose work has been a search to discover how we dwell and move within landscape.

His growth in the vision and contemplation of nature enables him to rise towards a meta-physical view of the world and to form free abstract structures which surpass schematic intention and achieve a new naturalness, the naturalness of the work. Klee
Ways to Study Nature by Klee on arthistoryproject.com

Back to top

Nature Inspired Words and Pics

Green Messages THINK DIFFERENTLY Get a New Perspective.

biophilia hypothesis, idea that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with  nature and other forms of  life. 
Rogers, Kara. "biophilia hypothesis". Encyclopedia Britannica, 25 Jun. 2019, https://www.britannica.com/science/ biophilia-hypothesis. Accessed 1 July 2022.

QUOTES

The Marginalian : Bloom: The Evolution of Life on Earth and the Birth of Ecology, with Emily Dickinson Set to Song

INSPIRING NATURE REFERENCES / VIDEOS

Rewild. Rebalance. Recover : Ourplanet.com
RESOURCES : https://www.ourplanet.com/en/schools-and-youth
Earthday.org artists for the earth
Earth hq org Global Commons Alliance - Real Time Planetary Data (Extreme Events)

BOOKS

Creativity Through Nature Ann Blockley
Inhabitable Earth
The hidden life of trees now turned into a movie
Vanishing Landscapes Robert Adams

 

Disclaimer: Links provided for information purposes only copyright belongs to sites accordingly.
It does not endorse or confirm the accuracy of linked sites, the views they express or the services they offer.


branch background