Sustainable Art Practices

Cultivating sustainable practices in my daily life are important to me. I try to bring this into my art practice as well.

Some days it can be hard to reconcile how wasteful the artistic process can be. I have used many a canvas, stack of paper, or other material, only to hate the end result and throw it out. Not only am I left frustrated with the outcome, but I am also left frustrated with how wasteful I feel. When this happens I try to turn it into a learning opportunity through research.

Listed below are some of the ways I strive to produce less waste in my art practice:

  1. Give a surface a second life. Use a busted sheet of cardboard as a palette, or make a found object your canvas (like the catalog card pictured above).
  2. Collage. Nearly everything that goes into my collage work was given to me, found, or purchased secondhand.
  3. Reuse jars and containers. These can be used for paint mixing, paint storing, and organizing supplies. I save my Talenti containers, Panera salad containers, candle jars, and jelly jars.
  4. Recycle. I try to recycle the rejects when I can, such as drawings made with pencil or pen (anything painted on cannot be recycled because the paper fiber has been compromised).
  5. Don’t wash paint, or paint water, down the drain. There are different methods for paint water disposal (I will share some videos below). The paint can cause issues for your pipes, and end up in waterways.
  6. Reuse packing material. I store as much cardboard, bubble wrap, and tissue paper as my closet will allow. When I can no longer use the air filled plastics, I recycle them along with plastic bags at my local grocery.
  7. Use “greener” materials and companies. When my budget allows, I use compostable sleeves for shipping prints and flat artworks on paper. My mailers are always recyclable.
  8. Gift art. Sometimes I make art I am not confident about, or there is something that does not quite align with my brand, but they are still OK works. I think about who may enjoy it and gift accordingly. On occasion I participate in Art Drop.

Currently I am trying the cat litter method. If you try the evaporation method outdoors, don’t forget to add a covering to prevent animals from get into it (or better yet, use a garage or studio space).

If you are an artist, I would love to know about your “green” practices!


Lady Dame