Tuesday, September 14, 2010

sustainability and art

Ethics of art

Recently I was listening to a podcast (I've just discovered podcasts and I love them) that challenged me to list my 5 most important values in life, and then to take a hard look at whether or not I was living up to them. I’m sad to say that the answer is no. In the top 5 values in Marya land, Integrity and Sustainability play a major role. For me they are probably the 2 values that I hold most dear. They even come before Family.

Don’t be fooled though, as the challenge points out, each value includes sub-values that are inherent to the larger topic. For example, under the integrity umbrella I would include loyalty, compassion, honesty, and trustworthiness. Under sustainability I would include vegetarian living, shopping ethically, living holistically, and being a conscientious consumer. Overall, I feel that the 2 (sustainability and integrity) are inter-dependent. I mean, if I strive to live a sustainable life, then I must have a certain amount of integrity when it comes down to doing so.

Therefore, when I examine my crafty endeavours, I have to question whether or not I am pursuing said endeavours in a way that is in keeping with my values. And the answer:

Epic Fail!

All the paint, paper, glues, etc… not sustainable. Not made in fair trade factories. Not toxin free, nor environmentally responsible.

But is sustainability really possible in art? Particularly when art and craft supplies are already so costly? Can I find block printing supplies that are sustainable? Can acrylic paint ever be non toxic, in the fullest sense of the word? And where do my stretch canvases really come from? Oy Vey! I’m stressed, frustrated and full of guilty already because I know that the answers thus far… well, they’re not looking good!

Furthermore, if I actually go out of my way to find sustainable art products, will the act only be undermined by the fact that I have to buy them online and have them shipped from all around the world?

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