top of page

I am sure I am not alone in my desire to be more ecologically aware of my impact as an individual and an artist. The art industry uses way more plastic than we may like: packaging, print cartridges, and even tools of the trade like pens. So, can we enjoy selling and buying art - a 'product' that is considered a luxury - while still being in line with our ecological values?


To buy or not to buy, that is the question.


Well, for me personally, I definitely try to be environmentally conscious in my art practice.

To start, I have reduced my art supplies' buying sprees. I am no different than most: I, too, want to buy that new stationery paper, that new artist pen or try myself at another brand of colour paint. I now think twice. I stay with the desire a little longer: do I need it or want it? Usually, I want it. So I remind myself I have all these art supplies, which I can probably play with again, and I'll likely re-experience the novelty effect. I also parent myself, 'no, you can't have more until you finish what you have. This, too, acts as a reminder to use the art supplies I already have.



Look at those beautiful supplies? So hard to resist, right!


Packaging and other solutions to protect artworks.


I have also looked into alternatives or solutions when it comes to packaging art. For transporting canvases, we can buy some padded canvas envelopes made of fabric instead of bubble wrap. For mailing art, paper padded envelopes are a wonderful thing! And so are paper tape. Bubble wraps received in previous orders can be re-used to wrap any artwork, and the same goes for cardboard. So far, the only aspect I have not yet found a suitable solution for is plastic protective sleeves for artworks. In the UK, some companies can provide recyclable and biodegradable cellophane wraps (celloexpress.com and eco-craft.co.uk). However, they cannot sustain a long time in humidity or handle a significant water spillage, and they will disintegrate in less than a year.


Many customers who buy art can take a long time before framing them, often leaving it in its original packaging, feeling assured the art will be protected while working through their procrastination tendencies. In addition, as an artist, you may display your art publicly (say at an art fair, exhibition, art booth, etc.) and protect it from possible rain or water accidents. If then, the sales don't happen straight away, you can't waste the money of having to re-purchase cellophane plastic wraps every year for the next art show. Therefore, green alternatives are not yet on par with the current plastic option.


There is technically an alternative: glass. Glass means the artwork is more expensive for the customer and will require more protective wrapping solutions (re-used bubble wraps or paper alternatives). For emerging artists, that can be quite costly and may slow down sales. The expense will also have to be accounted for in the final price. However, it is a more viable option for the more established artists, especially those who like to pick the frame for their art themselves. Personally, I have chosen the plastic cellophane wraps for now. For mailing art, the plastic wrap should be enough to protect from water, and the rest of the packaging can be all cardboard and paper alternatives, which is a good start.

some of my art in cello wraps


Originals, traditional prints and modern art prints.


I believe that where I make the most significant impact is by sticking to creating original art only. Let me explain why with an example of a simple pen and ink artwork.


For each piece of art created, I use some paper as support and a pen. The ink pen is mainly composed of some plastics. You may not know this, but not all papers are equal. The whiter and smoother a paper is, the more processed it has been. This means solvents and harsh chemicals have been used on the paper to strip it from its natural hue and its natural fibres textures (it is wood pulp, after all).

To be honest, my favourite papers are the whiter ones and the smoother ones. The smoothness works best for the dip pens technique and most mediums. The lack of texture on the paper gives me greater fluidity in my movement, and I make fewer errors. I also prefer colder whites, as it marries very well with the black I use in my art and exaggerates the contrasts. It is a personal preference.



"fittonia albivenis" botanical linoprint - limited edition of 50

To offer a cheaper alternative to customers and meet people's diverse' budgets, I could make an art print out of the original. If so, I would have to add a lot more things to my list. Whether I receive the paper for printing in bulk at home or order the final prints at the printers, they would be delivered in plastic, of course, to protect them from water and humidity. I would also have to account for the printer made of plastic and the cartridges made of plastics, all of which come wrapped in more plastics on purchase. And instead of one paper used for the original, we would be using way more.

I think you see where I'm going with that.


the process of lino print carving - ASMR style

However, art prints are a great way to make art accessible and affordable to everyone. They have their place, of course, and I can tell you in another blog post why I'm not a fan of them but for now, let's see what other options exist to create more affordable art for people. Because there is. There are the traditional art printing methods: lino prints, etching, wood printing, engravings, lithography and so on. Usually, they consist of carving out a piece of metal, wood, lino or else with the desired design. Then ink or paints can be applied and pressed hard against papers, fabrics or any support the artist fancies. It is essentially printing, the old fashion way. Not all artists want to dab into other art techniques, but if they do, I think it's a great way to make art accessible to everyone. There is still the issue of all those extra paper, but it may limit the extra plastic used in modern printing. I guess we could say that aspect is compensated because every traditional handmade print is unique and therefore becomes an original in its own right.


These are only my latest reflections on the matter, and who knows where my thoughts will take me in the future. I'm sure I have plenty to learn and explore still on the topic of environmentally friendly art-making, and I'm excited about it.


🌱 with love, x

Linka.

27 views0 comments

A fellow artist started her journey on Twitch recently. Twitch is a streaming platform usually for gamers, but there is also a growing artist community there. In recent weeks, she has already reached a benchmark on the platform. She is now an affiliate. It means she can earn some revenues from the advertising run before her streaming videos and be financially supported by those who choose to 'subscribe' to her channel.


For the occasion, I wanted to show her my support in the best way I can: using my hands and making her something that will last.



The Midori ruler is a running joke between us. I keep tantalising her with my beloved Midori ruler and keep encouraging her to treat herself to one. Meanwhile, she reminds me that she has enough stationary as it is and is banning herself from getting any more.

I thought it would be a humorous wink to her if I added this element to the card.


To become an affiliate, one needs to reach 50 followers on the platform. So instead of centimetres, the ruler goes from 0 to 50 to represent the followers count.


That's not all.. there is a little surprise pop-up feature on the card!




When you pull on the bottom part of the ruler, the complete list of her 50 first followers on Twitch, comes out! There are in chronological order from the upper left column to the last right bottom column.

Now, she will have a keepsake of who was there to cheer her on from the beginning .


Originally I had added another mechanism to make sure that the list push/pulls in a straight manner. However, after glueing the back (so we don't see the trickery), the mechanism got stuck. So I eventually managed to remove it without unglueing the whole card. It may wiggle a bit, but that's okay. I'm sure no one will mind. It is much easier to manoeuvre this way.




Tools:

  • golden edge card and envelope, white cream tone by Quill London

  • Coliro finetec gold and black metallic paint 

  • moblique dip pen and Niko nib

  • Higgins black ink

  • Tools to Liveby scissors 

  • Midori ruler 

  • white watercolour

  • Uni Kuru Toga mechanical pencil.


I had a lot of fun doing this project.

As a child, I used to do things like that all the time, and I have fond memories of my time trying to create pop-ups. I don't read or research about it, just think of my end goal and try different things until it works as best as possible.




I really would like to do another project of the sort. However, I lack project ideas. I work best when I want to do something for someone, communicate a feeling or when I have a clear assignment to work on. Without this minimum of a direction, I experience creative block because there are so many wonderful possibilities out there.


Making the videos was quite fun too, although I have a lot of room for improvement. Mostly, filming in macro without a steady hand is extremely hard. Oh well! I hope it lets the message comes across regardless. We all have to start somewhere sometimes!

Mostly, I really hope she enjoys it.

If you want to check her out and support her, you can click here (youtube) or here (twitch) and go show her some love.


Love x


23 views0 comments

Life model drawing in London, November 2009



Regularly I confront myself with the question 'am I diverse enough in my practice of art?'. In Art school, I made a friend who I nicknamed 'Bob' (Hi, Bob). I remember reflecting on how her characters just resembled her and then noticing that mine resembled me. Somehow our fictitious characters had an autobiographical air to them. Since then, I have noticed it is a common practice among artists, especially when starting out. We even tend to draw an improved version of ourselves.


The reasons why are simple: your self will always be available as a model, and unconsciously, art is often biographical. It makes sense that, as we express our inner world, it would reflect in someone that looks like our external self.


As I reflect on school and life model classes, I realise that until recently, the life models serving my drawing practice were all Caucasians female of the same built (what is considered 'fit' or 'thin'). With time, I have tried to remedy that by seeking out different body shapes and ethnicities as references. Pinterest is a wonderful tool for precisely that matter (see image below)!


sketchbook 2019 - from the 100 portraits challenge references on Pinterest



In addition to online sources of reference, finding life drawing classes is essential. One thing I particularly love about Hackney Wick life drawing classes is the diversity of the models: in gender, ethnicities and body shapes. It is an excellent practice. I often surprise myself thinking that a model will be hard or easy to draw, and it turns out completely different from my expectations.


When I see a naked life model in person, at first, I feel the model's vulnerability, and I feel a little voyeuristic too. After all, the model's naked body is exposed to the eyes and pencils of the artists. The artist who explores outlines and shapes, who studies the form and all the nuances the body has to offer. Eventually, those feelings are neutralised, and the artist stance takes precedent. Then, the body becomes all shapes, lines and colours and transforms into an 'object'.


Life drawing with Hackney Life Drawing, May 2020 - model: John



I wonder whether there is such a thing as objectification and temporary dehumanisation occurring while drawing a life model. After all, life models agree to land their bodies as a tool for the artist, not for personal voyeuristic gratification, so it could be argued that the contract is only honoured by de-humanising the body, temporarily, to practice those skills. Not necessarily consciously nor with cruel intent but rather as an adored and respected object.


Perhaps, it is not dehumanisation as such. Rather, it is an attention shift away from the model as a person to the model as an art tool. Yes, I would like to believe that there is a balance between the two. Surely there is a way to relate to the body as a tool for art while still holding all of their human truth as one draws. As an artist, one doesn't want to be cut out from our humanity since we want to capture it in our lines. We aspire to capture their essence and translate it onto the paper through the filter of our soul. It is a delicate balance. One that I hope to reach.


With life drawing classes, I also have noticed my discomfort when faced with a model I am less familiar with. It is interesting to sit with, to pay attention to the thoughts and feelings bubbling up. For instance, I fear that my drawing may offend the person or that what I chose to focus on will be judged as inappropriate.


I get to hear, in my head, all the stereotypes that society has assigned to our bodies. I also get to see past artistic representations of said bodies. I have a chance to undo those thoughts and feelings. And because the practice is so raw, drawing the body as one sees it, as it is presented to you, there are little risks of portraying them in a wrong light.


Life drawing with Hackney Life Drawing,

May 2020 - model: John



The practice of life drawing forces you to meet your self as you are. Notice whether you have flattened that stomach a little too much, whether you have omitted drawing their sex or are exaggerating a facial trait. And how the lines you draw are representations of societal biases such as, for example, one must be thin, genitals are dirty, or it's okay to mock ethnicities different to yours.


In my reflection of how inclusive my art practice is, I think I am learning to recognise that the work is deeper than that. It is not merely about seeking out diverse reference sources. It is also about feeling our inner discomfort and using the act of drawing as a tool to notice our biases and to give us a chance to undo them.


Life drawing with Hackney Life Drawing, May 2020 - model: John



Art can be inclusive so long as one intends to practice art mindfully and to be earnest with oneself.


Draw, feel, think.


13 views0 comments
bottom of page