23″ x 23″ Recycled/reclaimed paint on sailboat sail (sailcloth).
We have all heard the phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” and for many of us this is a motto that we live by, though it is easy to forget because we become so focused on what is convenient, and not what is good for the environment. As an artist and a resident of a large condo building in Toronto, Canada, I have always been amazed and at the same time disgusted by the amount of waste that we produce and cart down to the refuse room for disposal. Now this isn’t just my building, so I am not picking on anyone. It's everywhere and we are all responsible. I can easily take a quick look around my condo and find a lot of items that are use once, then dispose of. Most of these “disposable” items and containers are petroleum based products, non-biodegradable and will be around forever. Sure some of this does get recycled, though recycling still produces carbons and isn’t the greatest alternative to reusing and reducing.
The mindset that we can just throw anything out because it is disposable has grown. It has grown so much that we now purchase furniture that will be discarded after a few years because it is falling apart or our styles have changed. If you are of a younger vintage, I am sure you have had a piece of this furniture when you were a student which probably ended up on the curb when you moved because it broke into a hundred pieces. All those pieces of processed particle board, wood and plastic are likely now in a landfill.
As an artist I am always looking for creative ways to express what I am feeling or have my work reflect the environment that surrounds me. I have been guilty in the past of purchasing those pre-stretched canvases, and yes it was because they are convenient. They are also made out of raw materials and come shrink wrapped in a layer of plastic. It was then, when I was taking my newly purchased waste down to the refuse room, where I realized that there is a ton of waste available to be reclaimed and turned into art. Not just art that hangs on a wall with a back-story about someone’s emotions or surroundings, but art that has a message. We need to stop producing so much waste.
Aside from the materials that I find to reclaim in my condominium complex, I have also developed a partnership with with Loop Paint. Loop is the recycled paint brand of waste collector and recycler Photech Environmental Solutions located in St. Catharines Ontario. They work with Stewardship Ontario and industrial partners to reduce and ultimately eliminate Ontario’s waste paint. In addition to building my frames from reclaimed wood, whenever the materials are available, I will be painting 100% of all new works with recycled and reclaimed paint/stain, generously provided by Loop Paint, as well as painting on other fabrics such as reclaimed sailboat sail (sailcloth) and other textiles.
So this piece, like most of my recycled pieces in 2015, are inspired by our home, Mother Earth.
Recycled/reclaimed acrylic, latex and watercolour paint on sailboat sail (sailcloth).