Artists Ride the Green Wave: From Eco-Chic Art Materials and Techniques to Environmental Messages and Themes, Artists Are Raising the Bar on Going Green

By Kiley, Gabriel | Art Business News, January 2009 | Go to article overview

Artists Ride the Green Wave: From Eco-Chic Art Materials and Techniques to Environmental Messages and Themes, Artists Are Raising the Bar on Going Green


Kiley, Gabriel, Art Business News


Renowned marine-life artist Wyland is living proof that artists can play a significant role in the 21st-century environmental movement. His Wyland Foundation, which promotes the protection and preservation of the world's oceans, waterways and marine life, is celebrating its 15th year with an inspiring array of public outreach projects--a mission that has been recognized by the United Nations, Sierra Club and Underwater Academy of Arts and Sciences.

"The global effort to protect the planet is on the minds and hearts of every generation, many of whom collect art," Wyland says. "Today, artists can lead the world in the green movement by enhancing their exposure and contributing to the health of the planet."

Wyland may be one of the most prominent artists leading the environmental movement in art circles, but an increasing number of artists are catching the environmental bug. Many are going green by creating works with an environmental message, some are contributing and promoting environmental organizations and causes, and others have progressed to using eco-friendly methods and materials to create their works of art.

"Wherever you go, it's green; people are surrounded by the idea at Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble, wherever," says Alexandru Darida, a nature-themed oil painter represented by Masterpiece Publishing, Inc. "As an artist, you have to reflect what people are thinking. You have to transform yourself and go through the same issues that society is going through. All major artists have been a reflection of the times."

A MESSAGE OF CONSERVATION

The not-for-profit Wyland Foundation, which began in 1993, is a primary vehicle for getting Wyland's message of conservation out to the public. The foundation encourages environmental awareness through educational programs, life-sized public art projects and community events. The inspiration behind the foundation's establishment is driven by Wyland's love for water, which is reflected in his paintings, sculptures and photographs.

Wyland has many environmental art projects currently in the works, including the Artexpo Global Green Challenge at the International Artexpo New York, Feb. 26 to March 2. Wyland and the show's producers are working together to host several green events with exhibiting artists and the community to raise environmental awareness.

A 27-year SCUBA diver, Wyland has traveled around the globe to experience many of the world's bodies of water. "The more immersed you are in the environment and the water, the more passionate you are about preserving that beauty," Wyland says. " ... I think art is a way to engage people, not only to raise awareness, but to empower people to take action."

Australian-born artist Pete Tillack has also done his fair share of world traveling but with a different passion in mind--surfing. The lifelong vocation allows Tillack to get up-close-and-personal with his subject matter more than the average artist. His passion for nature translates to his work, which he uses as an opportunity to promote environmental awareness and causes.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

During the past two years, Tillack has raised nearly $80,000 for the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association's oceanic environmental efforts. Tillack's Web site, petetillack.com, also lists various environmental organizations he endorses and encourages his collectors to support.

Darida's appreciation of Mother Nature comes from growing up in Romania's picturesque countryside. "Our playground was the outdoors," he says. "We were always enjoying our constantly changing surroundings. That has stayed with me all my life."

Artists must be a reflection of the times, Darida says, and the environmental crisis gripping the world is something artists cannot ignore. "Artists have to be proactive to save our natural surroundings," he continues. "Environmental degradation is creating so much disaster around us. …

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