Before joining Earthy Art, I had never heard of sustainable art and now it’s the CORE of every piece I have created since. In an era marked by increasing environmental challenges, artists are embracing sustainable practices to reduce product and toxic waste. Although it may sound daunting, adding sustainability to your artwork is not as hard as it seems…but what is sustainable art?
The use of repurposed materials, non-toxic paint, and/or a more conscious approach to the artistic process.
I’m going to explain a couple of easy changes I made to my artistic process that not only made me more sustainable, but also more creative.
Using Repurposed Materials (AKA Upcycling)
Avoiding waste in art is as easy as taking a fun trip to the thrift store or looking around your house for a used canvas…and ANYTHING can be a canvas, whether it be an old pair of jeans, used basketball, etc. You can paint on anything or make a sculpture out of mixed media. I would even argue that looking at anything as a canvas pushes you to be more creative and makes you imagine what things could be rather than what they are.
Other conscious changes include: 1) using a rag instead of paper towel to clean brushes, 2) using excess paint to paint the backgrounds of future paintings, and 3) getting paint cases that prevent excess paint from drying so it can be reused.
Acrylic and oil paint are very toxic to the environment and to your health. Avoid disposing of these paints down the drain as they contaminate water sources, harm aquatic ecosystems, and impact plant growth. Some states consider oil paint hazardous waste, making it illegal to throw it in regular household waste. Follow proper disposal methods like recycling, designated drop-off locations, or drying out the paint and disposing of it as solid waste to protect the environment.
Non-Toxic, Eco-Friendly Paint Supplies
Paint is not only super toxic for the environment and a hassle to properly dispose of, but it can have serious health consequences. According to NIH, occupational painting was classified as a group 1 carcinogen . Painting can also have health ramifications such as respiratory issues from inhaling toxic fumes and skin irritation, allergic reactions, and potential reproductive harm from contact with certain paints and chemicals. Prolonged exposure to airborne particles during painting can also contribute to respiratory conditions and there is a risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals like heavy metals. We recommend instead using oil paint made without metals and toxic solvents, such as those from Natural Earth Paints. They have non-toxic paint, bamboo paint brushes, raw organic cotton canvas roll and so much more.
Through my time at Earthy Art I have learned the value of sustainability, not only for my health, but also for the planet. Saving resources or using recyclables not only helps the planet but also reduces the amount I spend on supplies. Earthy Art, one person at a time, is changing the culture around the artistic process and promoting mindfulness in materials, waste reduction, and repurposing.