03 March 2008


"If artists have the power to decide what is beautiful,
they also have the power to decide what matters."

It's sometimes difficult for an artist to use 100% recycled materials, because our culture makes us believe we must maintain an archival quality with our work. Art school especially influences this concept. So I now try to combine found materials with this desire to make things that last.

One of the best resources I use for finding recyclable materials includes my friends. I continue to find great support in all avenues, as I get shipping materials from one friend who is a mechanical engineer. (She provides me with the best cardboard from her work's dumpster. I don't know what I'll do if she leaves that job.) Other friends give me paper that have been scribbled on, and sometimes I ask people if I can keep their papers that have bits and pieces that others would simply toss in the trash. This concept began when I was working in an unnamed retail store, which was discarding paper left and right. I also use resources, such as freecycle, craigslist, and EtsyRecycle, for random materials like wood or fabric. These are amazing (and free) resources. I also use scrap materials from matting my artwork. These materials are oftentimes things that other artists may discard.

Experimenting with Wood [found in the TRASH]
As far as paint is concerned, I have been well-stocked by local hardware stores, such as Economy Hardware. They have locations in Brookline, Brighton, and Cambridge, and they sell their mis-mixed paints for $5/gallon. (I used to get it for free, but we won't share that.) There's also Real Milk Paint that I'm very interested in. I think it would be fun to mix powders together to create my very own paint. Plus, it's healthier and more environmentally friendly.

Cracked Pavement and Shadows
An infamous resource is also known as DUMPSTER DIVING, or being especially observant of others' trash. I continually find scrap wood in the trash that I see fit for a specific project... may it be a painting, a Ready-made home project, or a window display. I don't drive by. I simply stop and pick it up. If you wait too long, someone else may find it or it may be removed by the trash service! Other favorite places to find choice materials are local bookshops. I especially enjoy rummaging through the $1 books at the Brattle Book Shop. (I'm not sure what they do with the books that don't sell. Maybe they throw them away. Nonetheless, the paper in those books seem to have a profound impact on me.) Another favorite book store is the Brookline Booksmith. (They sometimes have a scratch/dent sale on books.) Yet, the best resource is junk mail. It's delivered right to your home, and you don't have to dig for it. There is a lot you can do with junk mail, aside from discarding it if you really think about it. Who knows. You could shred it and make your own paper.

I'm looking for people who sell handmade paper (with sizing added) on etsy, because I also try to buy as much as possible from fellow artists/artisans. I'm researching print shops who print using soy inks and recycled paper. I want to maintain the integrity of the scribbles--sketches project as much as possible. And if I can find the time and resources, I'm going to make my own walnut ink. Don't worry! I'll make time.

Sketches of Nature
Why am I talking so much about the environment and art? For one thing, I enjoy all of our natural surroundings, and I want to do my part to keep them that way. In light of this concept, I'll be participating in an art show during Earth month, which is April. It's called the Green Art Exhibit, and below is a little more information about it.

MART: Mindful Art for the Real Times
"Your Friendly Neighborhood Wake-Up Call"

Mindful Art for the Real Times is a coalition of artists who use their creative gifts to fuse aesthetics and activism into a powerful tool for social change. For all MART exhibitions, the art is aligned with a theme that promotes change for a better world. The theme is displayed with the work, resulting in a poetic interplay of dialogue and imagery, and a message to inspire viewers to action.

On April 11-14, MART will make its art exhibition debut, Salvage for MART (S*MART) for Massachusetts Power Shift, a 4-day event on climate change that will take place at Boston University. Salvage for MART iis an exhibition that showcases environmentally sustainable art created from eco-friendly mediums. Mediums have always been a reflection of the culture in which the art was made. Now in an age where there is a global array of material to choose from, the freedom to create art from innovative yet unsustainable and even toxic materials is a temptation. However, there is a new culture emerging amongst the wasteful, unsustainable culture of the past. As artists in this exhibition choose nature-based mediums over unsustainable products, they pave the way for a new generation of creative, mindful thinkers who are ready to make the shift to greener lifestyles, and preserve the world for generations to come.

1 comment:

  1. It was so nice to read about how you utilize your resources and reuse materials to make your art. I just recently found a source for scrap signage materials to provide sturdy bottoms to my handbags. There is so much useful material out there but the sad part is most of us tend to overlook it and call it trash. Bravo for your efforts! I think it is great!


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