The Sundance Channel has put out a dvd of their first season of Big Ideas for a Small Planet. One episode was devoted to the concept of artist as green educator and activist. Alyce Santoro, for example, is a reuse / recycle / found-object artist whose amazing weavings combine cotton or polyester thread with cassette tape to form this amazingly glossy and water resistant fabric (ponchos, umbrellas, banners), which she calls sonic fabric.
Another section featured an architect in the process of “upcycling” a defunct 747 jet into a curvilinear modern home. The wings will eventually be overhanging eaves and one engine will make its comeback as a fountain. Fun!
Upcycling is the practice of converting waste materials into products of greater value. The plane, purchased for approximately thirty thousand dollars (the value of its scrap aluminum) had an original pricetag in the low $200 millions. What will the home be valued at when it is completed?
Dragonclaw Studios recently featured a necklace woven from upcycled electrical cord, the reused copper woven together with a viking knit. Liz Youngker paints upon found objects as substitute canvases.
Victoria Anstead, who heads her own Art Advisory, shared that many of todays artists are multidisciplinary and may have backgrounds in architecture, biology or material science, to name a few; that they “are the spark to create aesthetic solutions to world problems.”
The Bay Area Artists Association’s recent panel on “Careers in Art” made similar points, communicating the joy and enthusiasm of synergistic fields in the creation process. Also, the “Chair-ity Fundraiser,” a benefit for Neighbor 2 Neighbor Mediation Services, featured repurposed chairs turned into art. It is a very empowering feeling to know that cutting edge ideas being promoted off the mainstream media are already in place and celebrated.