"Greening" the Studio

In December, I had the opportunity to meet quite a few art material retailers from around the country and Canada as I mentioned in the post on Dragon Art.  

We had some interesting discussion about what materials artists are gravitating towards these days, both representational artists and those that are on the fringe of contemporary art.  Whether an artist is looking for hobby or professional materials, people are thinking differently about what they purchase, and more artists are getting interested in unique materials and subject matter.  Some artists are trending towards safer materials, archival materials, or completely original materials to create their pieces.  With the ever growing material industry, there is more to choose from, too.  

From the conversation, I gained a better understanding of what artists want these days.  And for those of you that helped me out via Twitter, thanks for the input.  Hearing from you so quickly, learning about your favorite goods, and how you buy them went a long way with the retailers in the room.  I think it is vitally important that artists connect with both manufacturers and retailers to let them know what is needed in the market, what can be improved and what material characteristics are important to the work of art making.  I'm sure you'll be seeing more of them online in social networks so you can connect with them yourself and let them know your needs and concerns.  

In all the conversation, I was brought back to my own art practice and material interests.  As a material collector myself, I can't begin to try everything that I want to dig into, but my studio continues to enlarge with baskets and drawers of materials that will eventually make it into a new piece.  Lately, I've been interested in making my own paper and ink, using recycled products for my paper.  And recently, I bought an old architect file for my paper, brushes and  canvas at an antique show.  I continue to look for more ways to develop a greener practice in all this, whether it be the materials themselves, or the studio design.  On my wish list is a book for such greening, "The Green Guide for Artist."  Did I mention that I'm a book collector, too?

If you have recently made changes to green your studio or practice, or you have ideas on how to create a more environmentally friendly studio space, let us know!  

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Karyn

About Karyn

   My heart has always been in art and I spend the free time that I can painting.  Currently, I work in acrylics and I'm creating a series of abstract pieces.  But, I'm a materials collector and I've recently purchased some pan pastels, some new oil paints and watercolor pencils.

I no longer work for Artist Daily, so I won't be checking the site regularly and have no ability to remove posts or images.  Please contact the staff of Artist Daily or American Artist if you need help.


6 thoughts on “"Greening" the Studio

  1. Signature Canvas is the only artist canvas manufacturer who makes the entire product in the USA. Our product is not simply assembled in the US, the cotton is grown in the southeast and shipped to our factory in Kansas CIty. Our stretcher bars are made of american poplar from the northeast and shipped directly to us from the mill. Maritime pollution is one of the leading causes of air and ocean pollutants and we are so proud to be the only “green” manufacturer of artist canvas. Our customers tell us the reason they use our products is not only due to the premium quality but the thought that the product is made in the US and it does not harm the environment as other products do.

  2. I’m glad you opened this discussion, Karyn. I’ve been running a fairly green studio for a long time. I use hardly any chemicals. This is easier since I paint with knives. Because I paint on panels, though, I’ve really wondered why no one makes them out of bamboo. My thought is that there may not be a big enough market for them, or that the bamboo simply isnt a good material.

    Anybody know?

  3. I’m glad you opened this discussion, Karyn. I’ve been running a fairly green studio for a long time. I use hardly any chemicals. This is easier since I paint with knives. Because I paint on panels, though, I’ve really wondered why no one makes them out of bamboo. My thought is that there may not be a big enough market for them, or that the bamboo simply isnt a good material.

    Anybody know?

  4. I have been creating “green art” for the last 23 years (before it was cool!). My figurative collages are all created by applying bits of torn reclaimed paper to a canvas much like a painter would apply strokes of paint. I use reclaimed magazines, newspaper, wrapping paper,wallpaper, flyers etc. to create my images, and select them for their color and patterning. Please visit my website http://www.tanyamikaela.com to see the finished product! I also sort my favorite papers by color in an old salvaged architects flat-file that I got from a design barter.

  5. I think most artists already been into recycling and use recycle materiials in their art. I live in a big city ( Toronto, Canada) and sometimes just walking in my neighbourhood where my downtown studio is, I often found half-finishes canvases, frames strchers and other materiials I could reuse.
    Last summer, we had a city workers strike last 39 days and with no garbage pick-up. Our streets became rather messy, it was great inconveniced for many however it did not bother me much, as for years I been recyle, reuse and compose, I hardly produce much garbage.
    In my neighbourhood there are many coffee shops, during the strike there were many empty coffee cups been disposed everywhere. I deceided to took matter into my own hand and started to pick them up and turned into art. Here is the link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alfredng/sets/72157622837786929/
    I also saved fabric dryer sheets from the dryer and paint on it, I paint on my non-wiinning lotto tickets and even made my own paper with a pair of old jean.Here are some sample,: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alfredng/sets/72157620922425602/
    My recycled art even got the attention of our national TV news, I was feature a news item called “Rembrandt of Garbage” LOL

    Alfred Ng
    Toronto, Canada

  6. Thanks for sharing, everyone. I’m glad to hear about your “green” choices. It can really enhance the creative, process, I think to take making art to that next level of making art environmentally friendly.

    Don, I don’t know, but it is something to start asking the panel manufacturers.

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