Art creating a sustainable future, for generations to come
My work stems from the belief that each one of us plays a role in the wellbeing of our society and our environment as a whole. This approach values work as an activity that isn't made to the expense of others nor by the destruction of nature; and that the work itself can be a carrier of these values by its medium, processes, and message. Because of this, I choose subjects that relate to nature and the environment, and try to work them in a way that reconnects people to nature. Art is, by definition, an emotional medium; thus perfectly adds value in communicating the rationality of scientific data. In this way, I hope to benefit people and the planet.
Resolving the issue of climate change needs systemic solutions and policies, and is within our horizon of possibility. This can only be achieved by a collective effort, not by an individual one. I believe culture has the power to inspire and accelerate the social changes needed, aligned with IPCC data. For this reason, in my artistic practice I chose to work with subjects that reflect on the tremendous environmental losses we're facing as well as the solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change by nature's regeneration and by inspiring the rekindling of people's relationship to nature.
As part of my practice, I also bring sustainability into my work through the materials I choose and the providers I work with. Whenever possible, I chose materials with a smaller impact on the environment. For this reason, I chose to work with ethically sourced, handmade recycled cotton paper and natural pigments. Both the research into the subjects I work with as well as into the materials and suppliers take immense effort and time, but it's essential for the quality of my work.
The fashion industry is a large pollutant. By giving a second life to discharged cotton fabrics with its recycling into cotton paper (center), not only less waste goes to landfills but also the highly socially and environmentally damaging process of cotton farming is avoided.
Cotton is a crop with a high water demand. The cotton industry depends heavily on pesticides, with workers and the environment exposed to them during the production process. This can lead to the workers' poisoning, birth defects in their children, and even death. Pesticides from farming have a very negative impact on the ecosystem, polluting our oceans, our drinking water, contaminating soils and leading to land degradation.
Making one cotton t-shirt takes about 700 gallons of water - enough drinking water for one human to drink for 3 years, making the fashion industry sector the second in water use and one of the most producing carbon emissions. The discard of cotton fabric from fashion has a horrendous impact on our environment, with the majority of textiles going into landfills every year. By using recycled cotton paper, I give a second life to this waste. I work with a supplier whose production is handmade, and reuses the water used in the cotton process into organic farming.
Industrial pigments used in art supplies are often hazardous to the environment during their productive stages as well as in the final product; they are commonly labeled as fish poisonous. Therefore, as of 2020 I turned to non-toxic, handmade, ethically sourced natural pigments, either from mineral or botanical sources. The only exception is the Ultramarine Blue, which is a 90% natural, 10% synthetic combination, manufactured in Europe. I did a very few of the botanical pigments myself, with either locally sourced ingredients or from biological, ethically produced crops.
I sometimes use bamboo paper, considered a more environmentally-friendly choice than wood pulp. This is due to bamboo being the plant that grows faster in the planet, with some species growing one meter per day; for which it is rapidly renewable. Its growth requires little water, and releases more oxygen and equivalent trees.
I choose cruelty-free synthetic brushes, instead of ones made with animal fur.
I take all possible measures to limit the use of raw materials, and for this reason, I'll still use art supplies previously acquired.
As part of my effort for ocean protection and awareness, I am a signatory to RISE UP. Powered by Oceano Azul Foundation and other institutions, this is a joint call to action from a broad group of civil society, fisher folk, Indigenous peoples, and philanthropic organisations directed to governments and businesses, urging them to take the actions required to set the oceans on a course to recovery. Living in coastal cities through most of my life and enjoying the benefits of it taught me that respect and love must be accompanied by the greatest care, if we want these places to be enjoyed by the next generations to come.