“Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact.”      -William S. Burroughs

Art has always been an important component of social change, and this environmental movement we are in the midst of is no different. Combining art with activism is an extremely powerful way to get a message across. This eco art comes in many different forms. Back in the late sixties and early seventies, artists, including Robert Smithson and Andy Goldsworthy, took part in the land art movement, in which nature and the environment itself was used to make art.

Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty

Miru Kim's The Pig That Therefore I Am

These artists’ works are a celebration and an appreciation of nature. Many current environmental artists take on a more political tone. One artist whom I find particularly relevant to our past few classes is Miru Kim, a photographer whose series The Pig That Therefore I Am features a nude model posing among pigs. Her artists statement regarding the series explains how similar pigs and humans really are, yet we exploit pigs as a mass-produced, profit-generating raw material. You can see the series in it’s entirety on the artist’s website linked above. Christopher Anderson is another eco-photographer, yet his focus is the exploitation of Venezuela’s natural resources.

An interesting, yet increasingly popular trend among eco-artists is upcycling garbage and using it as a medium. Christine Lee uses used shims, or wedges of wood, to create designs of criss-crossed wood installations. She doesn’t attach the shims in place, so the same wood scraps can be used over and over again for each installation. Mark Langan’s medium of choice is reclaimed cardboard, while Kathleen Egan collects plastic bottles from beaches which are then used to create a huge, sculptural wave form.

One way to get in on the action of eco-art, as well as another popular trend, street art, is moss art, otherwise known as grassiti. Check out how to do it.

So, if you’re looking for a way to get your voice heard after hearing about all of these issues we’ve been learning about in class, consider creating some eco-art to get your message across!


7 Comments so far

  1.    danakrey on March 19, 2011 5:02 pm

    Miru Kim’s photography is really powerful. It’s appalling to think that pigs are so intelligent, yet we treat them so horribly. You have to wonder if the model caught any diseases by lying in those disgusting pig pens…

    The moss graffiti is also really cool. I’ve never heard of it before but it kind of makes me want to try it!

  2.    Amber Collins on March 20, 2011 11:57 am

    Really neat pieces 🙂 creative, inspiring, and thought provoking. I particularly liked Miru Kim’s picture you provided and grassiti i had never heard of. Very clever.

  3.    kbrown on March 20, 2011 2:15 pm

    This was really interesting. Art is a great way to get the message out to large groups of people. I really like the idea of grassiti.

  4.    Dr. Szulczewski on March 20, 2011 7:10 pm

    I can’t thank you enough for this post! It’s fascinating to see this whole genre of art taking on eco themes. This is something I wouldn’t necessarily have come across, but is so important in terms of expression and theme.

  5.    scorron on March 22, 2011 2:04 am

    Wow, this was really cool! I totally did not realize there was a person in that group of pigs. Maybe we could incorporate eco art into some of our final projects??

  6.    brittany on March 22, 2011 10:48 am

    Awesome post. I am a firm believer in art movements as a way to bring attention to important issues. Art has a way of reaching out to people and making them stop and think. Like you said, art has always been important to social change, it appeals to peoples humanity and evokes a new way of thinking. I’ve always been fond of street art and how it incorporates powerfukl messages into our daily lives. I’ve never heard of eco-art and grassiti, they’re such interesting ideas and a lot better for the environment then the traditional spray paint. Thank you so much for sharing!

  7.    alynch2 on March 22, 2011 7:41 pm

    Writing this post actually helped me assure myself about my career choice a bit. I’ve always known I loved art, but at times questioned the importance of it. Delving into this subject more for this post made me realize how important art is in spurring change.

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