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Saving The Earth With Paper Cups

Saving the Earth with Paper Cups
I’ve never been one for sustainability, but these days it’s starting to freak me out. Whether it’s because I’ve just watched a documentary about the plastic island floating in the Atlantic or because I’ve just found out that there is a hole in the ozone for the first time in history, it has made one thing is clear to me: These are dire times.

And whilst I’m just a humble writer sitting in an office in England I thought it might be nice to take a look at some of the artists around the world who are using their lives to make a statement about the wastefulness we see in everyday life and doing it with the materials each of us use in our everyday lives and hope that we might start to make a change. So here we go:
 
Tara Donovan
Born in New York, Tara is a master of shapes and textures. She creates art from cups, paper plates and even napkins. The aim of her art is to evoke thoughts of nature through shapes that remind us of the world we live in. Like the cloud formations you see above. To me it is particularly striking because there is potential in the future for our lives to be predominately surrounded by plastic and in that respect the art isn’t far from the truth.
 
At 38, Donovan was awarded the MacArthur genius grant which coming in at a cool half a million is an enormous sum just for being so clever. She is even able to do what she will with the money as long as it supports her work, so hopefully she will snap up a great deal more of our wasteful cups and turn it into something useful.
 
Chris Jordan
Chris Jordan’s art made my heart thump when I saw screenshots of his work. If I was at the real exhibition I don’t know what would happen. One thing that I have taken away from his work is that art should ultimately be about provoking a strong emotional response and this certainly did that for me.
 
His first piece is made up from 410 thousand individual paper cups which is the amount that America goes through every 15 minutes of the day. Take that number up to a whole day and you get the work below.
 
Chris says that if you had stacked a day’s worth of America’s plastic cups you would have a 44 story building. Just look at the tiny silhouettes in the bottom left hand corner to realise how astonishing that amount truly is.
 
To make that building you would need 40,000,000 paper cups which is the amount America goes through each day, and that’s just the cups. One of Chris’s other works is an intricate portrait of a blue whale made up from 50,000 plastic bags, which is estimated to be the amount of plastic per square mile in the world’s oceans today.
 
And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Chris’s work. You should visit his website (below) to see more of his truly astonishing art work which is made up from mobile phones, paper bags and even prison uniforms. It makes you realise the extent of the damage far beyond what the numbers can and concludes my look into the art that may help save the planet.
 
Link to Chris Jordan’s staggering work with paper cups: http://www.chrisjordan.com. Feeling in an economic mood? Visit Tradecraft’s website for some guilt-free groceries.


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