Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Environmental Issue

The other day I was driving and contemplating the effect of art processes on the environment when a bird flew toward my truck. The bird actually clipped my passenger side rear view mirror and seemed to keep flying, but I wasn't sure, I was on the freeway going 70! And, this wasn't the first time something like this had happened.So, then I started thinking about how human kind and urban sprawl have encroached on the natural environment and how sad it is that most people would have thought it was the birds fault.
Urban Sprawl is not a good thing!
As I kept driving toward the Mesa Art Center for work, I noticed a little white fluffy thing on the side of the freeway curve where the 202 merges into the 101 south. When I drove the same route the next day, it was still there. I have to say, I couldn't even tell what kind of animal it was, just small and very fuzzy white. It made me want to cry!
Here I was fretting over what we have done to nature and yet, there I was driving a pick up truck 45 minutes on the freeway to work. It makes me even sadder that I haven't figured out a way to be better about conserving or giving back. I'd like to have solar in my house, but unfortunately I can't afford the initial fees. I saved a tiny little kitten from the freeway that some cruel human had to have put there. And, people think I am a little crazy sometimes about recycling, but if that is the least I can do....
Somehow I have to do more!
Today, I was watching TV while getting ready to go to the grocery store and there was a story about a man, Chris Jordan, who was posting online the very sad videos he was taking of Albatross sea birds that have been feeding on nothing but trash on the Midway Atoll Island. They have been dying with full belly's of plastic. It was very difficult to watch, one moment you are seeing the beauty of nature, new furry bird baby's waiting for mommy and daddy to bring food, and the next minute you see a bird carcass that was filled with garbage.  See Chris Jordan's work here.
Things like this are why I try to recycle so much and have been trying to find creative ways to include these items in my work. Below I have included some pictures of pieces that include recycled ingredients.

Here are some pictures that I took while in a photography class in college, my theme was urban sprawl and it's effects. They are 35mm Black and White, taken with my old Minolta SLR. I developed the photos and mounted them for project display, so they were not the easiest to scan in for this post, but I rather like the juxtaposition. I think it gives the viewer that uncomfortable feeling that one should get from seeing any attack on nature.

This photo is of a housing development being built out in the desert, far enough from the existing city that water and energy services would be difficult to get there. For me it was a perfect example of Urban Sprawl.

I know this is rather graphic and can be a bit disturbing, but I was very sad to find this poor bird with its guts spilled out in the middle of this dirt road. It was just at the edge of another new housing development that was encroaching on the desert. One side of the road was a neighborhood, the other side was the desert which contained a barbed wire fence, power line towers, and some sort of electrical outpost. While I was exploring this area there were people in fancy cars flying down the road, it's no wonder there were other animal carcasses there that day as well. And people wonder why coyotes and bobcats are eating their dogs and cats.

Garbage nestled into the bushes in the city.

An empty lot in the city that was quite an eyesore for years. Barrels with who knows what inside them rusting through. Nearby were various industrial business's and the river bed, but know this spot has been converted into a Mall, Tempe Marketplace that is. Before Tempe Town Lake was created. So many empty lots around the cities just waiting to be cleaned up and rebuilt, and yet developments still keep going up in the desert.

Just a little tid bit about some of my Art on the subject

My Water Droplet Box is a combination of turned wood and metal. I found the eucalyptus in an apartment complex that had cut down some of its trees. It represents my struggle between wanting to preserve the environment and my love of materials. Wood is such a beautiful material, as is metal, and unfortunately the processes required to bring us these materials have a lasting effect on the environment. The box represents the water needed to sustain life. As a box it contains a piece of metal shaped like a root, a precious root floating in water, preserved for when there are few left.

Salvaged Eucalyptus Wood, Nickel Silver, Glass, Cork, Water
             Size: 11”x6”

Recycled work for sale:

My friend Livia bought some of these earrings from me to sell on her website and a portion of her sales goes to American
Check these out on Livia's site: Seeds of Life.


Gwynne said...

What a lovely blog this is. I appreciate the story behind your pieces too. We all suffer the cognitive dissonance about our art vs the environmental impact. Well, unless we make found object art!

This is always an issue for me, even when it just boils down to what I use to improve my house. Try camping up in the redwoods and then considering buying a wood floor or wood furniture ... and the oil required to ship plastic water bottles overseas to this country, just so the plastic bottles can be recycled and then shipped back to China for recycling ... Bleh! Sustainability is such a huge concept to wrap your head around.

But writing is definitely a small load on the environment!

Holly Carter said...

Thanks Gwynne! I am going to keep racking my brain for new ways to use found and recycled objects. Just thought of a new one while walking Lucy today, old dog tags.