This post is directly from the Healthy Art Program: An Energy Smart Exhibition blog that I wrote.
The past few weeks I have been working on my pieces for the Healthy Art Program: An Energy Smart Exhibition. Admittedly it’s been more difficult than I anticipated. I was struggling with the content/subject. Most of my artwork is already directly inspired and influenced by nature and natural history. So why would I do anything different? I know whatever my subject is that it will relate to the environment. Does this make my work Eco art? Is this the point of this project?
From the Greenmuseum's website, a definition of Eco Art:
In a general sense, [Eco-art] is art that helps improve our relationship with the natural world. There is no definition set in stone. This living worldwide movement is growing and changing as you read this. Much environmental art is ephemeral, designed for a particular place (site-specific) and involves collaborations between artists and others such as scientists, educators and community groups.
See "A Brief Introduction" by Clive Adams of the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World.
Some environmental art:
Interprets nature, creating artworks that inform us about nature and its processes, or about environmental problems we face
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 through their work new ways for us to co-exist with our environment
Reclaims and remediates damaged environments, restoring ecosystems in artistic and often aesthetic ways
The more I thought about it the clearer it became that for me this should be about the materials and process. My art subject already speaks to some of the above statements and for me, this project isn't necessarily about making eco art. What I want to explore is a more practical approach; like how to use new materials, how to reduce waste. Is this something that is cost effective, easy, and convenient? Materials are expensive already, will using earth friendly products cost more, are they harder to obtain.
So while I am making my artwork I am also doing a lot of research. I think it is worthwhile for artists to use earth friendly materials even if they are not “eco artists.” I have been experimenting with making my own paints, oil and tempera, as well as finding non toxic solvents, earth friendly paper and other goods. I have also been measuring my energy use. Although I am not quite sure aside from the basics (CFL or led lights, etc) of how to change that.