Over the past several years, I have been slowly eliminating single-use plastics from my daily life at work, and at home. The Plastic Free Eco Challenge is a particular challenge I eagerly embraced to reinforce and add to my current list of committed actions. I discovered it while visiting the Santa Fe College Zoo in Gainesville, FL. I also am taking this opportunity to reach out to family and friends to take some simple actions as well. (You can sign up to be on my team is you wish).
While I am increasingly eliminating single use plastics from my daily living practices, I have recently been focused on how to be more eco-friendly in my art-making materials and practices. This is one area I had not considered other than using glass containers for paints and scraps of old t-shirt fabric for brush cleaning rags.
For many years I had eliminated aerosol spray bottles from my daily life, especially in cleaning products. It wasn't until I started creating community murals along side other artists that I realized that many artists were using aerosol spray paints for their style of art, along with particulate respirator masks. I started thinking about this in terms of toxicity to the natural environment as well as physical toxicity to the artist and others around them who are breathing the paint dust in. Although Environmental Street Art has been on the scene for over a decade with many eco-friendly alternatives to using aerosol paints, I just don't see much of it in my own community.
That's when I started thinking about my own art materials and practices and am now committed to making changes to eliminate VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints in my work, and to explore alternative, eco-friendly materials, including tools made from natural materials. This means that I will need to experiment with making some of my own tools, and explore many resources. I am sure that there will be other art-making things that I haven't even thought about yet. But I am eager to take on this challenge and welcome any resource information and insights from others!