It’s been about a year since I started working towards a more eco-friendly art practice. I began creating my own natural dyes from edible sources with the mindset of opening a dialogue.
“The Natural Series” was something that grew as a result of an intersection in my homelife and my creative life. I’m a vegetarian and always have fresh fruits and vegetables in my home. One evening, I started chopping beets for dinner. If you’ve ever cut beets you know they stain your cutting board, your hands and they were my first inspiration to create a natural dye I could use as “paint”. Almost a year later, I’ve discovered an entire range of colors that can be sourced from non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and edible products.
I believe artists have one duty to society;
to create accessible, well-priced, and culturally impactful work.
Working in time where your visual aesthetic is not unique, one has to challenge themselves to create artwork that causes pause, that shakes foundations, and that creates a discussion. I believe that you can create beautiful artwork, however if it doesn’t mean anything, could it ever exemplify timelessness? Appreciating art because it’s beautiful is a formative application. I simply believe there should be more than pleasure behind a work of art. Perhaps your view on that is different, and that’s okay.
With that being said, this past year has brought a wave of recognition and an unexpected shift in momentum in my career. I’m incredibly thankful. Alongside this recognition has come an upswing in commission work. “The Natural Series” has one major pro, and a counteracting con.
Pro- Clients love purchasing artwork that starts a conversation, and that was supplied sustainably.
Con - They fade and color shift a little. There are no chemicals to bond the color to the cotton and therefore the pieces are not lightfast. For this reason…I’ve recently obliged to creating longer lasting works of art… in acrylic.
So where do I stand as an artist if
I’m being recognized for “The Natural Series” focused on environmentalism
but still creating artwork for clients in toxic plastic A.K.A. acrylic.
This is a question I’ve asked myself for a long time. Here’s where I’ve landed.
I can create artwork that causes waves. I can also create artwork that is lovely to look at, without the intellectual burden. I can do both.
I am, doing both.
I will always emphasize the need to push yourself as an artist. I will always hold myself to a higher standard than “pretty”. I won’t turn down clients because they want an acrylic work rather than a piece that made fade and change over time.