August 28, 2015

Why I think Sustainability & Creativity go Hand in Hand

As an art maker, I create a lot of waste. This reality can really stink.

As a painter, I regularly throw out a dollop of leftover paint. Every time I spill ink or get my chair pushed while I'm working (cue accidental scribbles) on a drawing, I waste a piece of paper. When I work with water colours and tape down my paper, the tape just gets thrown out after. When I use paper towel to clean my brushes (because I was taught that fiber cloth can contain dirt that gets in your paint), my garbage can fill up by the end of things. The paints that I use sometimes contain toxic ingredients, yet I wash them off my brushes, down the sink, and into the water system.

Moreover, as a human being living in a contemporary, first world society, I create a lot of waste. Did you know that on average, North Americans produce 68 pounds of textile waste a year? Eco Fashion week even does a 68 Pound challenge with Value Village, giving designers 68 pounds of secondhand materials to create a fashion line out of. Reading about this challenge when I was still in high school was what got me interested in sustainable fashion, I even did a final project on it - using second hand materials to create a dress as part of my design class.

So, I like art. I like fashion. These are two of the ways that I express my creativity. I also like living; existing, in this lucky society. Yet the amount of waste I create bugs me. It just doesn't make sense to me - that I should get to live this way, so well, so fortunately, without direct or apparent consequence on myself, but with so much consequence on the environment and on less fortunate workers around the world.

If there is an attainable alternative to creating this waste over and over again, why not take it? Why not pay a little more attention and make a little extra effort to make sure my actions have as little negative impact on the world as I can?

You occupy this world. You exist, in this world and no where else*. If it is good for the world, it is good for you.

Living well, feeling good, and being able to create while doing so, is so important to me. If I feel good, if I know I am having as little negative impact as possible, I feel so much more inspired and free to create. To make to my little heart's content, to exist freely and happily!


*if you do happen to exist somewhere other than this earth, please let me know, that sounds pretty rad and interesting and I'd love to meet an alien one day.

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