While art makes our planet even more beautiful, we only have one and everyone has a responsibility to protect it. There are various ways art can be made sustainably and choices of paints, surfaces, processes and packaging are all important.
I only use second hand acrylic paint that wold otherwise be going to waste. Unlike oil paints, these are free from toxic chemical components. While I buy from second hand sites like Ebay, many of my paints were actually my late Granny’s, or come from friends who try painting briefly and are then left with tubes of unwanted paint. (If this sounds like you, please let me know if I can buy your unwanted paints from you!).
Instead of using canvas which is laborious to make and uses multiple materials to prepare, I work on 100% recycled card. The card is made in the UK from raw consumer and commercial waste that comes from UK or EU mills. I will sometimes work on second hand canvasses or wooden boards, when it’s possible to source them.
Acrylics dry incredibly quickly which means I only put tiny amounts onto my “palettes” (plastic yoghurt tops) and never wash them in the sink. Instead, I operate a zero waste policy by waiting for any waste paint to dry before peeling it off into my dry-paint area which, one day, will be used to make a new piece of art. Washing paints down the sink is the last thing you want to do. Not only does it clog up your sink, but it also releases harmful chemicals into the sewer system and groundwater. I also wipe brushes down completely with bamboo tissue before rinsing them in water that’s left to evaporate rather than poured down the sink.
When packing a finished painting, I use 100% recycled tissue paper to protect the painting and old packaging materials. Once paintings are received, I would love for these materials to be re-reused again directly (rather than just put in the recycling).
If you have any questions, or suggestions for how I can make my work more sustainable, please get in touch.