Humans have been creating art for thousands of years as it is a way to express the human experience in ways that words alone cannot. The importance of art is the impression that it leaves on the audience, moving us, changing us and enriching our lives. However, it doesn’t have to leave an impact on the environment. Paints, varnishes, metals, plastics, and toxic materials are often utilized in the creation of art pieces and sculptures. These materials have the ability to harm the environment as well as human health. Luckily, it is possible to create art using materials that are found in the natural environment. The use of natural materials can mean that the art is not necessarily meant to be permanent. The passage of time allows for the art to be washed away in a rainstorm, unravel on its own, and be swept away by the wind. The ephemeral nature of this art carries its own beauty. Instead of leaving behind environmental damage, the materials are simply returned to nature, but the impressions on our souls are lasting.
Andy Goldsworthy is an artist who creates site-specific installations with the use of natural materials. He creates his installations from a variety of materials such as rocks, ice, snow, leaves, and branches. Although often in remote areas where his artwork isn’t likely to be seen, Andy Goldsworthy is careful to document the location before, during, and after his sculpture is created. His artwork, such as the outline of his body on a pebble beach after a light rain, emphasizes the importance of understanding life and the fact that some things aren’t made to last. Marc Pouyet is another artist who uses natural materials to create simple works of art. His art is often created within cities as a reminder that the natural world is all around us.
Instead of using materials to create art, it is also possible to find art within nature itself. Yann Arthus-Bertrand is a photographer who is known for capturing aerial photographs of the earth. From his perspective, art already exists within the environment and does not need to be created by humans. In his book “Earth from Above,” photographs depicting biodiversity, urban landscapes, oceans, climate change, and more are accompanied by commentary that emphasizes the need to take environmental action.
Let yourself be inspired by these artists and create your own nature art pieces! Spend some time in nature admiring the beauty of your surroundings and using raw materials to make your own installation. Use this time to create art that isn’t purely about the end product, but instead puts an emphasis on the act of creating and interacting with nature.
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