This past April, I was fortunate enough to join a panel of talented artists and scientists for a discussion on the art of climate change science. We spoke about our views on climate change, and how we express those views through our artwork. Today, I would love to share some of my answers to the many important, thought-provoking questions that were asked.
Follow along with me:
What does climate change mean to you?
To me, climate change is how we are actively changing the quality of our environment. Right now, we are killing the essential needs of the planet- we need water, food, and shelter- basic needs. The environment provides these to us, and without truly recognizing the impact of global warming and taking the necessary steps to ensuring the health of the planet, our future may be bleak.
How does global warming affect your work and events in your life?
I have always thought about climate change but the last few years, I think about it every day; making art about it keeps it in my mind; it’s underneath my eyes and embodied in my being. When I take pictures and making artwork from them, I ponder, will this creature last? How has this species needed to accommodate the changing environment?
Marine organism are adapting to environmental stress. I’ve noticed how global warming’s effects our marine, and because of this, I have altered my habits by no longer eating as much seafood as I once did. I see how polluted the waters are now, and I have visions of plastic choking and strangling animals. I experience ageneral sense of guilt on behalf of the human race.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work in regard to climate change?
I hope to bring more attention to climate change, that is to say, climate change affects us all, whether we realize it or not. I also hope to inspire the community to give a collaborative response to the impact of climate change on our lives and on the sustainable future of the planet.
Please comment on the relation between art and science: What is the common ground?
Scientists and artists are curious people. We ask questions, and we want to know more because by choosing to explore the unknown, we learn not to fear it. Though you may not think so, a scientist’s laboratory and an artist’s studio are similar places, especially the type of art I do; solving problems, using abstracted symbols, experimenting and thinking visually, all of it. Their scientific finding and my artistic expression allow us to communicate to the general public differently.
Do you think this type of collaboration between different disciplines may help address climate change and ameliorate its adverse effects?
Awareness is the first step in change. So in my mind, any collaborations used to reach more people is a good thing. Today, climate change has become more of a household term, whereas several years ago, people didn’t r understand what it meant. The more people talk about climate change and learn how it’s triggered; the more people will become comfortable with the topic and discussing what they can do about it.
How do people in your professional/personal life feel about climate change?
The people in my life, both personal and professional life, are all in the same boat. We are all concerned. I fear for the world we are leaving to our children. I hope we do enough to help them and teach them how to help themselves create a better, healthier planet. Professionally, I hope that we are doing enough to showcase this issue so that people aren’t able to ignore it.
What do you think people in your discipline should do to raise awareness of climate change and help combat it?
Artists across the board and different disciplines are addressing climate change because it’s genuinely one of the most important issues of our lifetime. It affects all of us, regardless of race, gender, economic status, etc. I have friends who clean the ocean of plastics and then make art from that. Artists who are making art that actually generates the growth of new animals are most inspiring.
What future do you envision for our planet in the current political and social context? Please use your expertise, scientific results, and imagination to provide your scenarios.
My work is about creating microcosms. I like to create things that have a lot of life in them, and that regenerates growth in my imagination, anyway. I like to show how amazing these life forms are, with the knowledge of the science behind; it becomes a warning.