I have always really loved nature which has led to my interest in sustainability and helping our current environment be a cleaner place for future generations to live in. This is why I decided to create an upcycling project that would fit into the environmental aesthetic. This aesthetic incorporates depictions of nature with an environmentalism twist to add societal meaning to the piece.
The Environmental Aesthetic
Many pieces of art that fit into the environmental aesthetic make a statement about what will happen if we do not address climate change sooner. They typically depict the future of the natural environment with lots of trees, plants, and landscapes included in the artwork. These pieces tend to serve as a warning about climate change and try to encourage people to take action. An example of this can be seen in the illustration below by Don Davis (1). Here, Davis depicts the infrastructure which created a degradation in the environment. It shows the beautiful nature of earth leaving the world as it is pulled upwards to the top of the illustration.
Environmental aesthetics also tend to depict what a greener future could potentially look like. These pieces of art also include a lot of elements from nature such as plants, animals, and landscapes. Along with this, they usually depict some type of technology that is creating a more sustainable future. An example of this is Eugene Tssui’s painting “Venturus” below (2). He depicts a futuristic home shaped like a reptile that runs solely off of wind power and is built into the side of a cliff.
Another example of this aesthetic is artwork created by Emilio Ambasz below (3). This work shows the potential for zero-emission buildings that are surrounded by nature, almost as if the building is blending in with the environment around it.
Since I am hopeful about the environment’s future, I was inspired by these pieces of art for my upcycling project and I am going to try to create a piece that has a similar aesthetic to them.
The environmental aesthetic seemed perfect for my upcycling project, due to being able to use recycled material that would otherwise be thrown away. I plan to use cardboard and the corrugated texture of it to create a landscape of a futuristic industrial town running on renewable sources. Then, I’m going to surround the town with nature and plants which will depict a greener city. I also want to add in color and layers with cyanotype pieces that I created and did not have a use for.
- Don Davis, 1977, https://placesjournal.org/article/aesthetic-environmentalism-review-emerging-ecologies-moma-exhibition/?cn-reloaded=1
- Eugene Tssui, 1982, https://placesjournal.org/article/aesthetic-environmentalism-review-emerging-ecologies-moma-exhibition/?cn-reloaded=1
- Emilio Ambasz, https://thesciencesurvey.com/arts-entertainment/2023/12/27/brought-under-the-spotlight-emerging-ecologies-architecture-and-the-rise-of-environmentalism-at-the-moma/#