To be a sustainable artist, I would say you must be a sustainable person. And how am I sustainable? Let me count the ways:
1. The most immediate thing is that I use water-soluble oils to avoid the use of solvents. That’s the same reason I use colored pencils, acrylic paints and watercolors. This is for my health and that of the environment.
2. I recycle at home. In a house of four able bodies, our 96 gallon trash container is hardly ever full. We recycle paper, plastic, metal, glass, and newspapers and magazines. This saves landfill space and is good for the environment.
3. We also recycle other things. This is to reduce our consumption of new products and reuse things that can have another life. We give things to charity to extend their life-cycle too. These items range from clothes to furniture and just about everything. This is good for raw material and the environment.
4. We use compact flourescent lights just about everywhere. This gave me an immediate 30% reduction in my electric bill. I also patronize wind-generated utilities. This is good for my pocketbook and the environment.
5. I don’t buy most household hazardous materials and rely on elbow grease to do the work. Not an easy task when short on time but we have less irritants in our household air as a result. This is good for our health and the environment.
6. We are making strides in buying local and organic. This is not an easy thing to do but we like to support everything from local growers to local artists. This is good for our local economy, our health and the environment.
7. I never water my lawn (easy to do in my area), use herbicides or fertilizers, and have an electric mulching mower. We have a garden compost pile and chop the big things down letting them wither down in their own time. This is good for the landfill and the environment.
8. We have lots of fans to raise the wind chill and lower the A/C use. Not the same in our warm weather days but it’s survivable when you don’t have to wear a suit. This is good for the pocketbook and the environment.
9. I am eating less, more vegetarian and fresh foods again. I have fresh herbs at my table, fruit trees in my yard and maybe will add some veggies if I can remembe to water them. This is good for my waist line, tastebuds, health, pocketbook and the environment.
10. I carpool, walk and sometimes ‘even’ ride my bike (inside joke) as much as I can. I could do more here but I only have a 12-mile commute and getting there dry is a plus when short on time.
So with these ten examples, I am sharing my personal plan for sustainability. By reducing my consumption of goods and being a good steward of the resources I use, I say I am a sustainable person. In my artwork I preserve the environment and culture through my paintings besides reducing toxic material use as much as possible.
How are you sustainable?