My work confronts the urgent challenge of climate change, spotlighting the catastrophic effects of our single-use plastic consumption on the ecosystem and symbolizing the broader harm inflicted on the environment.
During a hike through the desert, I had a transformative moment. I saw what I thought were shimmering flowers, but in reality,  it was discarded water bottles entangled in bushes, their surface catching the sun’s rays. This stark contrast between natural beauty and human litter spurred me to create images that blend single-use plastics with elements of local plants, and eventually, to forming landscapes entirely from found plastics. This experience highlights the pervasive nature of plastic pollution, especially in untouched environments, fueling my commitment to addressing this issue through art.
Every plastic item originates from fossil fuels, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, and poses a lasting threat to waterways and landscapes as it degrades. Micro-plastics, now ubiquitous, contaminate our food, infiltrate our bodies, and disperse across the atmosphere.
For three decades, my artistic journey has been dedicated to uncovering and challenging detrimental patterns of human behavior, including my own. An early series involved growing plants in specially designed molds, blending human habits with environmental and autonomy concerns. Subsequent series explored deeper personal and societal challenges, such as homelessness and family struggles, leading to the realization that environmental degradation exacerbates these issues. Stemming from this insight, ‘My Plastic Life’ not only highlights the impacts of plastic pollution but also broadens the discussion to address barriers hindering both human and ecological well-being.
Acknowledging the sun’s pivotal role in climate change, I employ methods and materials that harness its power to reflect on our culture of consumerism and waste. By cutting up single-use plastic bags, I simulate the formation of micro-plastics. These fragments, alongside sports-drink bottles, plastic painters’ drop cloths, and other single-use plastics gathered from grocery store waste, are arranged on black-and-white darkroom paper. Exposed to sunlight, I utilize a camera-less photography technique to imprint these assemblages onto light-sensitive paper, creating unique photograms that visually document their interaction with solar energy.
While individual efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle are crucial, they’re insufficient against the burgeoning plastic refining industry and its environmental toll. Emphasizing the need for widespread action and systemic reform, my art seeks to not only foster awareness but also inspire change, encouraging a shift in how we engage with single-use plastics towards embracing sustainable habits. Through stimulating thought, initiating dialogue, and prompting action, my work emphasizes the vital role of every individual and community in shaping a sustainable future.
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