I read the article “Painting with Toxic Sludge”. Essentially, an artist in Ohio is using pollutants in local rivers to produce paints. By producing these paintings with these paints, the artist hopes to raise awareness of the prevalence of pollutants in our environment, and instigate a conversation on developing unique ways to tackle this pollution problem.
The artist is collaborating with an environmental ecologist on this project. They have developed a way to collet the polluted water, neutralize the pH and separate out the clean water from the pollutants. Then, the pollutants can be used to make paint, so there is scientific undertones to the art pieces. The pieces are also very aesthetically pleasing though.
I think the art can definitely be used as a way to raise awareness about negative impacts of pollutants in ecosystems, without focusing on the negative impacts. Instead, a creative solution is focused on instead, so it is a lot more hopeful.
The artist does not necessarily lead a “call for action”, but he does frequently discuss the importance of addressing pollution in natural ecosystems.
Currently, many dyes used in paints are produced in China. The cost of heavy industrialization and large scale transport is detrimental to the environment. Producing these dyes locally would have a lot lower carbon footprint. Producing these dyes from pollutants in the environment also serves to clean-up natural areas, while also raising awareness of the prevalence of pollutants in natural systems.