Sustainable Art

Sustainable Art

What is sustainable art?

What makes something ‘sustainable art’? Well it’s very hard to define as there are so many aspects and points of view – is it about using less energy? Lower carbon footprint or no toxic chemicals? Only using natural materials? Or is it about promoting awareness of ecology and alternatives to mass consumer culture?

An interesting definition is cited by Fowkes & Fowkes in their 2006 paper – Principles of Sustainability in Contemporary Art.  They state “Sustainable art is an art in harmony with the key principles of sustainability, which include ecology, social justice, non-violence and grassroots democracy”.

Put simply one form of sustainable art might be to create art that produces the least amount of impact to the global ecosystem while another type may be to share environmental references and goals.

So, do these, and the myriad other ‘eco’ practices need to be fulfilled to claim something is ‘sustainable art’?  It seems to us that it isn’t possible to satisfy everything. Perhaps what is important is that some form of environmental and ecological stance is taken by the artist and by their work to fit the ‘sustainable theme’ i.e. artists who are using non-toxic, sustainable materials in their art practices as well as integrating conceptual ideas of sustainability into their work.

Environmental Artists

Roger Dautais

Roger Dautais is a French environmental artist, photographer, author of children’s books. In 2006, he founded the Land Art international group BEACHES OF FREEDOM.

“My childhood speaks to me and inspires those eternal gestures. Bent over Mother Earth, I paid tribute to her. My roots are now also in this lifelong journey. For me, life is a journey that is meant to be shared.” Roger Dautais

Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy OBE (born 26 July 1956) is a British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist. He is famous for works made outdoors and made from natural materials found at that location. The nature of the materials he uses and his style of working means that his works are ephemeral i.e. short-lived.

Andy’s ephemeral natural art installations

Sustainable Art – Raising Environmental Awareness

Mural in Bedminster, Bristol depicting Greta Thunberg.

Greta is an environmental activist, born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2003. When she was eight, she started learning about climate change. The more she learned, the more baffled she became as to why so little was being done about it.

In a very short time, Greta has become an icon and a beacon for environmental change.

Another incredible and thought-provoking piece of sustainable art was created in Millenium Square in Bristol. Here a whale is seen amongst waves made out of found plastic bottles. This installation highlights the problems of plastic pollution and how man is destroying the planet.

Sustainable Art with Heart – Artists & The Environment at Boha

Many of our artists are inspired by the beauty and fragility of nature, which is beautifully reflected in their work. Sadly, there isn’t space to talk about everyone, therefore, below we feature three artists whose work especially takes the environment and sustainability into account:

Curtis Dionne and the Glass Roots Collective

Curtis Dionne glass art is beautifully handmade using the most Eco-friendly and sustainable methods possible.

In 2008, Curtis set up his own studio, ‘Glass Roots’.  With his own concerns for the environment and having an engineering mind, Curtis designed a wood-fueled glassblowing furnace.  It took five years of research and experimenting to develop the furnace he uses today.

Curtis Dionne glass art is beautifully handmade using the most Eco-friendly and sustainable methods possible.

In 2008, Curtis set up his own studio, ‘Glass Roots’.  With his own concerns for the environment and having an engineering mind, Curtis designed a wood-fueled glassblowing furnace.  It took five years of research and experimenting to develop the furnace he uses today.

Cutis, now settled in Atlantic Canada, makes traditional blown glass in his wood-fired furnace.  This alone makes the blown glass unique to North America.  All pieces are hand-formed. 

Curtis Dionne Glass and the Glass Roots team use locally sourced materials and alternative carbon-neutral fuel. This enables them to efficiently carry on the tradition of glass blowing for their families and their province in the most Eco-friendly, sustainable way

Sea on Glass

Sea On Glass is the brainchild of British artists, Anna & Lesley, who have been working successfully together for over 10 years. These resourceful and inventive artists specialise in creating pictures of images using recycled sea glass.

They are both passionate about recycling and the environment and work incredibly hard, scouring their local beaches for discarded glass pieces. These are designed and painted with great skill, imagination and humour to create inspirational art.

Sea glass is the coloured glass “pebbles” that have washed up with the surf. They are also known as “ocean glass” or “beach glass”. They are the by-product of discarded man-made glass objects – bottles, jars etc. – that have found their way into the ocean.

 Their wide range of artwork, which is inspired by iconic British imagery, architecture and animals, is unique. There is nothing quite like them out there!

Fiona Mazza

Fiona has been a maker of unusual ceramics for 18 years exhibiting in numerous shows around the country. The core of her work is based on nature, in particular, the wonderful world of butterflies. This body of work highlight’s the struggles of nature and mans impact upon it.

The Monarch butterfly is used in this work to represent nature and the beauty of form and colour. The monarch migrates travelling long distances, clustering together to create awe-inspiring patterns.

The impact of man is seen in the use of bolts to control and damage. Man’s use of pesticides on the milkweed which the Monarch feed on is reducing their numbers and is in danger of destroying this wonder of the world.

Fiona has combined her love of nature and the battles in which it takes to survive, demonstrating strength, versus fragility, through the natural clay state. These pieces inspired by the wonderful world of butterflies are hand-built or slip cast and hand-carved. Each piece is constructed from separate wings, joining them together in free form.

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