Twin Cities Edition

Art that Inspires Action

Artists Work to Save Nature’s Beauty

courtesy of Steve Glorius

Eco-art creatively highlights environmental sustainability issues and sparks possible solutions.
 

Mounts Botanical Garden, in Palm Beach County, Florida, hosted Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea, a thought-provoking traveling exhibit featuring giant sea creatures made entirely of marine debris from beaches. “It graphically illustrates the amount of plastic pollution in our oceans and waterways,” says Curator and Director Rochelle Wolberg. The exhibit included Grace the Humpback Whale Tail, the Marine Debris Anemone, Priscilla the Parrot Fish, Flash the Marlin, Water Bottle Jelly, Sebastian James the Puffin, Lidia the Seal, Hugo the Humpback Whale Tail, American Sea Star and Musical Seaweed. Take a look at some of them and check for current exhibit locations at WashedAshore.org.

In Mechanicsville, Maryland, ex-iron and steel worker Steve Glorius repurposes scrap metal into natural world and fantasy art sculptures of ocean creatures that also inform about endangered wildlife. His works have adorned museums, restaurants, galleries and gift shops.

Debbie and Mike Schramer, owners of Fairy House Vintage Antiques and Art, in Provo, Utah, create fairy houses made from twigs, mosses, bark and other natural elements. “Instead of paint and paper, we use nature itself,” says Mike, who encourages others to follow suit. “People enjoy time outdoors more intricately as they look for small items.” Although fairy houses are trendy now, the Schramers started building their fantasy worlds in 1987. They’ve authored three books to spark the imagination, Fairy House: How to Make Amazing Fairy Furniture, Miniatures, and More from Natural Materials, Fairy Village and F is For Fairy: A Forest Friends Alphabet Primer board book.

At 14, Canadian Evan Sharma, of Kingston, Ontario, is already an active entrepreneur—his artwork now appears on sneakers and clothes. He calls his company RBLB for Right Brain/Left Brain, saying, “To be a whole person, you have to use both the creative side and the analytical side of your brain.” His passion for the environment is particularly expressed in a painting he donated to support the Olympic team. Painted at an elevation of 7,000 feet on Sun Peaks, in British Columbia, he finished with snow for authenticity and texture. This year, he spoke on creativity at the 6 Under 16 program, in Montreal.

“Eco-art makes an impact on the world,” says John Sabraw, professor of art and chair of painting + drawing at Ohio University, in Athens. “Right now, my paintings are round. People say they see a long view of the planet or what’s seen through a microscope. Every painting evokes a different emotional response from the viewer.” All Sabraw’s paintings use pigments processed out of polluted streams, often mixed with other standard artist colors.

Sabraw has helped develop several ways for artists to adopt sustainable practices. See his TedxTalk at Tinyurl.com/SustainableArtist. He points out that whatever form eco-art takes, its purpose is to show a problem, provoke a response and ask the viewer, “What if…?”


Connect with the freelance writer via AveryMack@mindspring.com.


This article appears in the July 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Letter from the Publisher

As we head into autumn with the changing leaves, Mother Nature starting her resting phase and school activities beginning to find their rhythm, it’s time to focus on our personal needs. So many of us don’t think twice about spending any amount of money and time to meet the needs of our children, spouse or friends, yet we won’t do the same when it comes to our own well-being.

Be Heard and Make a Difference

As young adults and teens, we need to start taking action on issues where we want to see something changed. We can’t just look at these issues and say someone else will do it. We were given a voice and now, as teens, need to use it, especially on issues that affect us more than they affect adults such as school shootings.

Three Simple Ways to Get Started With Social Marketing

As small business owners, operators or managers, our lives involve non-stop, on-the-job training. Sometimes it seems we’re running fast just to stand still and sadly lose sight of the amazing learning opportunities granted to us each day (You may be thinking there aren’t enough hours in the day; I don’t have time to think about the lesson learned; this pile of work isn’t going to do itself, so please don’t give me one more thing to do.)

A Game Changer: Respecting All

If you haven’t yet tried the 30-day challenge of only speaking positively for 30 days, here are the details: You are challenged to only speak (and think, in the advanced version) positively 24 hours a day for 30 days in a row—no snide comments, no yucky yammering—only pure positivity. If you mess up, you have to start your 30-day count all over again.

Mastel’s Health Foods Celebrating 50 Years of Service

John Mastel founded Mastel’s Health Foods in 1968 after having suffered the effects of an experimental antibiotic he received while attending college. “I spent 54 days in the hospital with stomach issues brought on from the treatment I received,” states Mastel. “Back then no one was talking about gut health or the need for probiotics.” It wasn’t until he read an article in Prevention magazine that he started to see hope in his situation.

Add your comment: