Climate Change is Here
We stand at a disheartening crossroads in the unfolding story of climate change. The signs are glaring, impossible to ignore, and they paint a bleak portrait of what lies ahead.
Our choices and negligence have irreversibly altered the delicate balance of our planet, casting a shadow over the very future we bequeath to our children.
There are still changes we can make in our individual lives to slow the impact of climate change and our art has the ability to reflect and teach these values.
Can our Art Make a Difference?
How can we create art that tackles climate change, the thing that matters most that we are most afraid and unwilling to talk about? How can we make art that stirs hearts and minds while retaining its inherent beauty?
Let's delve into the art of balancing aesthetics and social change. Here are some strategies to strike that delicate equilibrium:
Infuse your artwork with symbolic elements that capture the essence of climate change. Developing meaning around certain colors and forms as potent symbols, evoking emotions and igniting conversations.
For example, a nocturne (a painting of night) can have the symbolism of end of days or symbolism of a pause in time for reflection and regathering hope. It really depends on symbols you’d include in the nocturne.
Another example: An orange sky while beautiful is an ominous sign of the times. Will our children know sky as blue or will they know an average day as having an orange sky?
Symbolism such as wilting flowers or other wabi-sabi elements draw attention to time and the transience of the world as we know it.
What other symbols can you think of that depict climate change?
The Power of Contrast
Think of the children’s book “ The Lorax”. Stark differences in the tones from page to page are both beautiful and eerie.
Or, contrast paintings within a group. Have some paintings that show abundance while others show scarcity in a single collection.
Contrast living flowers with dying ones, dead coral and alive coral.
Show the Earth from Space
One of the most compelling images for social change is the Blue Marble. The Blue Marble is an iconic photograph taken in space, stands as a timeless reminder of our interconnectedness and the fragile beauty of our planet. Captured by the Apollo 17 crew on December 7, 1972, as they voyaged to the moon, the image revealed Earth in its entirety, suspended like a radiant jewel against the vast expanse of the cosmos.
Can you capture the vulnerability of the planet with a view from space or some other way?
Titles as Amplifiers
Employ evocative titles to deepen the impact of your message. For instance, pair a lovely forest painting teaming with movement and life with a title like "We have so much to lose," amplifying the underlying urgency.
Embed Easter Eggs within your artwork—hidden symbols, cryptic text, or intricate details—that beckon viewers to explore deeper.
Seek inspiration from the awe-inspiring beauty of the natural world itself. Create landscapes, seascapes, or botanical compositions that celebrate nature's magnificence, reminding us of what hangs in the balance.
Metaphors of Meaning
Harness the power of metaphor and allegory to convey the intricate nuances of climate change. Transform scientific concepts into visually captivating symbols, inviting viewers to unravel profound truths.
Consider using multiple panels in your art to convey a disjointed reality. Think of Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden Of Earthly Delights.
Art's true essence lies in its ability to convey complex ideas and emotions. By skillfully intertwining aesthetics with the subject of climate change, we can craft artwork that conjures awareness and understanding. Let us wield the brush of creativity to inspire change and shape a better world.