top of page

Eco-Artists You Need to Follow on Instagram

Daisy Culleton introduces modern artists on Instagram who create sustainable and environmentally conscious art pieces to address social and environmental issues.

 

Could the next Mona Lisa be created using discarded plastic scraps and textile waste? Well, yes, it certainly could be, thanks to a wave of contemporary artists who are using their social media platforms to share their sustainable and environmentally conscious artwork.

 

Before we dive right into looking at the fantastic green artists that are taking the digital realm by storm, let’s consider what features an artist’s work must include to be regarded as a piece of environmental or sustainable art. According to the Tate ‘environmental art is art that addresses social and political issues relating to the natural and urban environment’. Meanwhile, according to the Artterra, an online gallery celebrating emerging artists, the idea of sustainable art is centred predominantly on the artists physical practice, as it states that ‘there are no fixed rules for what makes a piece of art sustainable, but eco-artists often look for ways to create without damaging the environment’.

 

The term sustainable and environmental art are often used interchangeably, as at its core, they both perform the same central function. Both practices focus on utilising the power of art to create a happy, healthier world. What’s more, they typically come hand in hand, for example, to reinforce the environmentally charged socio-political commentary that drives their work, an artist may also take a zero-waste approach or use sustainably sourced materials. Furthermore, the practice of creating art using recycled matter or found objects (as they are commonly referred to in the art world) is inherently political, as the process of transforming waste into fine art forces the spectator to consider the destruction that our consumerist tendencies are causing.


An artist working amongst nature. Image Credits: Ilnur Kalimullin on Unsplash

 

So now, you hopefully have a thorough understanding of what exactly environmental and sustainable art is, let’s look at the social media savvy artists who are helping save the planet.

 


Josh Gluckstein is a London based artist whose work reflects the close relationship between environmental and sustainable art. Inspired by both the wildlife and the outrageous quantities of washed-up plastic waste that he encountered during his travels around Asia, East Africa, and South America he transforms old cardboard packaging into life size sculptures of animals that are indigenous to the countries he visited. His wonderful sculptural work therefore serves two purposes; first and foremost, his chosen medium promotes sustainability as it encourages the viewer to reconsider the disposability with which society treat’s packaging materials, such as cardboard. His artistic process is suggestive of the thousands of creative ways within which we can give life back to the very materials that many of us discard after they have served their initial purpose.

 

Additionally, the central hope is that his artwork will raise awareness for several of the world's most endangered species. By upcycling cardboard into various endangered animals Gluckstein artistically asks the viewer to contemplate how society’s general disregard for the environment is having a tremendously painful impact on some of mother nature’s most beautiful creatures. However, his environmentalism goes beyond the physical artwork itself, as he uses his practice to support multiple environmental charities. For instance, according to the artist's official website he is an ambassador for helping rhinos and as part of this role he regularly ‘donates artwork to help the critically endangered rhinos and their landscapes’.

 

 

Deniz Sağdıç is a Turkish artist who, under the title of the ready-remade series that she kickstarted in 2015, creates astonishing large scale detailed portraits using a wide variety of waste products such as bottle lids, cables, rope, and plastic bags. However, her specialism is denim, as she has created numerous monochromatic portraits using discarded denim. Sağdıç’s focus on denim derives from its familiarity, or as she stated in a recent Instagram post ‘everyone knows denim regardless of language, race and geography’. Therefore, through the universality of denim, Sağdıç hopes to speak to everyone about the obscene amount of waste that our consumption habits are generating. Moreover, her ability to construct magnificent portraits from the most mundane of objects and garment features is incredibly inspiring. Her artistic process forces us to consider if something beautiful could be fashioned from the very contents in our bins or from the clothes in our wardrobe that we have now deemed unfashionable.


Denim textile waste similar to that which Sağdıç utilises in her practise. Image credits: Jimmie Quick on Flickr


In fact, in January 2022 Sağdıç partnered with Istanbul airport to form an exhibition titled ‘0’ Zero Point, wherein she created 20 fabulous portraits using objects that were gathered from the airport's very own waste management centre. The exhibition hoped to draw focus to the incredible amount of waste that these types of transport services and their users produce every single day. This powerful message on sustainability continues to live on through Sağdıç Instagram, as she regularly shares portraits that were featured at the exhibition.

 

 

British artist, Rebecca Louise Law, writes that what motivates her creative practice is her acknowledgement that ‘the human soul needs nature and time to appreciate all that the earth provides’. Recognising that in modern society many are not afforded the opportunity to bond with mother nature in the capacity that our souls crave, Law creates immersive installations that allow even those located in some of the most metropolitan cities the opportunity to immerse themselves within the natural world. Assembled using natural materials, particularly preserved flowers, her work enables visitors to connect directly with nature. Sustainability also beats throughout the heart of Law’s artistic process, as she states that she strives ‘to give each flower as much value as a drop of paint’. The sensitivity and care with which she then approaches these fragile natural materials, allows her to re-use them repeatedly.

 

Composed using ‘500,000 botanical objects’ Law’s most recent exhibition The Archive offers visitors to Cleveland’s Public Library the chance to see first-hand how striking mother nature is. However, through the snippets of the exhibition that Law shares over on her Instagram she offers social media users a moment to breathe and the reminder that a beautiful natural world exists beyond their phone.

 

So, what are you waiting for? Get following.

 

Or if you’re feeling inspired perhaps even get creating.

 

About the author: Daisy Culleton is an American Studies and History graduate from the University of Nottingham. She has a keen interest in both Art and Environmental History.

128 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page