Art as an Engine of Change

“In most successful movements for social change, artists are in the vanguard”,  says Adele Stan–who further states in an important article titled “Culture Manifesto:  The Increasing Importance of Art as an Engine of Change” ( that “when the going gets tough, the tough make art.  And in America today, there’s some tough going ahead”.  Lastly, she suggests that “as we head into a new year, let’s renew our spirits with an injection of creativity.  As Emma Goldman told us, “a revolution without dancing is not worth having”.


I am posting this because I hope that in some small way the art I have recently done will help promote environmental awareness.  As I painted my “icebergs with plastic” pieces during 2009 and 2010, I simultaneously began to develop an increased consciousness of the reality and dangers of global warming and plastic pollution. In addition, I learned about the rapidly expanding global artistic community addressing these concerns. There is no doubt in my mind that this important community helps generate increased attentiveness to these problems through a variety of creative ways.
Above is my oil painting done in 2010 incorporating painted plastic pieces glued onto a 55″ x 55″ piece of gessoed watercolor paper.  I created a number of these works and now feel as though my series of these plastic iceberg picures is complete.  The works are my hypothetical explorations of what could happen to the alarming increase of plastic waste particles accumulating in the oceans.  I have imagined millions of plastic nanoparticles slowly evaporating into the atmosphere and then gradually falling back to earth as rain or snow.  Ultimately, some of this toxic precipitation would create glaciers and icebergs.
The paintings are in some ways beautiful to me—especially because I love exploring the depths of the color of blue. Yet the pieces also represent my alarm and my worries about the destruction of our planet.
Everyone has a talent or two.  Please use yours to help jumpstart social change.  In addition to this important job, you will also feel better when you engage your creative juices and as Ms. Stan says, you will “renew your spirit!”
1 Comment
  • rajpe

    January 30, 2011at4:09 am Reply

    Keep up the lovely art.

    With so many problems, where do we start?

    I worry about famine. We waste a third of the massive USA corn crop on ethanol fuel. Driving food prices up, hurting the poor.

    I especially fear another 1816 summer.

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