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Making the Shift To Sustainable Art

Many people don’t realize that sustainable art practices have been around for a very long time. For example, Kintsugi dates back as far as the 1400s and 1500s. What is it?

Kintsugi roughly translates to “gold” (kin) “joinery” (tsugi) and describes the process of artfully repairing pottery using gold adhesive.

Not only is this practice sustainable, but it’s also revered. These Japanese artisans believe that the pieced together fragments are more beautiful and definitively more admirable thanks to their visible imperfections. And they’re not the only ones known for their purposeful shifts to sustainable or eco-friendly art. Here are some ways artists all over the world are making art and doing it in ways that are increasingly environmentally friendly.

What Is Land Art?

“Land art, also known as Earth Art, Eco Art, and Earth Works, first emerged as a product of the conceptual art movement in the 1960s and 1970s,” according to In Good Taste. “Land art uses materials derived from nature to create artwork woven into the fabric of the land.” One example of land art is the Spiral Jetty in Great Salt Lake, Utah. The artwork is a true-to-size jetty by artist Robert Smithson made out of salt crystals, rock, and mud.

One of the most important aspects of land art, eco art, or Earthwork is exposure. As such, while many of these are physical works made out of water, stone, wood, earth, etc., photographers and artists also make a point of recreating or capturing these artworks as photographs, prints, and paintings.

If you find yourself wondering where you can find land art in an art gallery near me, the best course of action is to ask! Staff at the best art galleries and art exhibits will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

An Emphasis On Nature and Cityscapes

Another way that artists are shifting toward sustainability is raising awareness. More artists are depicting nature and landscapes and the effects that mankind and industrialization may have on them. Conversely, artists are using paintings and prints to show bleak cityscapes, realistic depictions of the consequences of industrialization, and even to capture efforts to help reverse the environmental impact of cities and overproduction.

Art Takes Different Forms

In addition to land art and paintings showing nature and cityscapes, artists are also reconsidering the materials they use to create art. A growing number of artists are using chemical-free paints and plant-based paint thinners. If you’re tempted to ask, “Will I find art with synthetic paints in an art gallery near me?” the answer is yes. There is a misconception that chemical-free “earth paints” may not hold up over time. Research shows the opposite is true. Temperature, sunlight, and humidity do not affect synthetic paints, making them a long-lasting, chemical-free alternative. These paintings will hold up in galleries for thousands of years, making them among the most durable paints — not just the most durable chemical-free paints.

Finally, artists are repurposing newspapers, tissue paper, cardboard, found objects, and other recyclable materials to make collages and unique art pieces. It is the artists’ goal to reuse discarded objects and render them useful again.

Others are focusing heavily on making art intangible. Projects like Eve Mosher’s “Seeding the City” combine active environmental efforts with art. For the project, Mosher encourages people in urban environments to create small modular — and artsy — gardens in their homes.

Many art collectors ask the question: What sustainable works can I find in an art gallery near me? Don’t be afraid to ask! Staff will happily point you toward works that raise awareness, artists that create and/or photograph land art, and artwork made out of upcycled materials.