Sustainable Art Practice

collection of insects

Adaptation by Vicky Russell

Insects make up 80% of all known animals present on Earth, making them an integral part to ensuring the survival of animal and plant species on the planet, hence maintaining the balance of nature itself.  In short, In my final project this year, I am bringing to awareness the fragility of the ecological web, by a designing and making a series of sculptured insects. To visually portray this concept I have displayed the insects inside frames much like one would see in a museum collection, except I have made them from cardboard boxes (reusing cardboard packaging). It amuses me to think of myself as the discoverer and collector of insects (entomologist) in my native country New Zealand, having imagined ‘newly discovered’ mutant native insects.  My aim in this project is to highlight the potential extinction of our native insects and the surreal possibility of a mutated species, as a result of our increased technological age and throwaway consumer mentality. As art practitioner, I was mindful of how I can make only ecological friendly footprints and I made conscious choices to primarily use found objects that would have otherwise been thrown away. The wire used in construction was the only thing I purchased to create this work. I mostly used hand tools, rather than the machine counterparts, which certainly gave my works a handcrafted appeal.  I believe this mindfulness is crucial in considering what type of media and art forms I pursue next year. The world needs artists and designers who practice sustainability. It’s the only way forward in creating a huge positive impact on our global ecosystem and the creatures who live within, great and small.

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Chris Jordon’s film

In addition to my previous post ‘Speaking of Sustainability’ In his short film A message from Gyre, Chris Jordon tells a visual story that is profoundly disturbing and heartbreaking. To acknowledge the truth of humankind’s neglect of our planet is difficult to stomach. I refuse to turn a blind eye and allow the creatures of our Earth to suffer from our inability to clean up after ourselves.

my future inspired

In the last project for the year in my Level 5 Degree program, I intend to integrate everything that I have learned into a final piece of work that will be exhibited ‘In House’ for all students, staff, friends and family to view. The key theme of this project is to connect back with the beginning of my year, reflect on learning processes, identify my directions for the future and connect with my world – on a local community scale. This is the first time I have had the opportunity to initiate, conduct and manage my own project.

Other than being given the topic of Sustainability as a parameter, I could create my own brief using any media or methodologies of my choice.  Having spent many years with needles and threads as my drawing materials, I am very comfortable with soft sculptural methods. So, my intentions this time round are to extend my skill set into hard sculptural methods, using found objects to keep in alignment with the sustainable concept and practice.

These images are examples of works by various artists, that have inspired me in the initial stages of this brief. The artists featured here, are but a selection of the browsing I have done. They stand out for me because of the handmade elements that give them all an aesthetic of either Steam Punk or Indie Craft – both being artistic sub cultures that I have a great fascination for and may be inclined towards in the future as an art practitioner.