Monday, January 4, 2010

Becoming a GREENER Artist

Green: Not just a color anymore

Everyone who knows me well knows that green no matter what shade, is my favorite color. But “green” has become a catchword for the environmental movement. No matter where and in what capacity it’s used, the word “green” catches my eye.
I read an article in Artist’s magazine about greening up your work environment and I thought some of the ideas were worth sharing. The gist of the article is about finding eco-friendly living and work spaces. In it they give some tips on greening up your studio or work space as well. Some of them seem fairly simple, but you know even if we try to be more aware of the green effort it will make a difference. Below are some of the tips from the article plus a few ideas that I use to be a greener artist:
1. Walk or bike to work or to your studio. (Might be difficult for South Carolinians especially in rural areas) I see more and more folks at USC biking to class.
2. Insulate your workspace. Poorly insulated walls, windows and doors waste tons of energy.
3. Make use of natural light. Add a north facing window, which will provide sufficient light all day for working. And for working at night, make sure to use the energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs – and they can be recycled. When working with paints, you’ll appreciate the natural light. Sometimes indoor/artificial light can fool the artist’s eye.
4. Choosing the right paint for your walls. Ever notice that smell that lasts and lasts when working in a room painted with latex wall paint? Well that’s because latex paint gives-off harmful gases that lower air quality. Make sure to use a low-VOC paint (volatile organic compounds). Had never heard that before. Had you?
5. Avoid vinyl floors – Same thing here! Vinyl also emits gases that can make you sick. Try to use ceramic tile or real linoleum or wood.
6. Make green choices in everything you do... in shopping, in buying paints, in using solvents etc. It may take a little more time to shop green and make green choices but in the long run, it will be worth it.
7. When cleaning brushes with turpentine or other nasty solvents such as paint-thinner, don't just dump it down the drain or dump it outside behind the house. Save all your used, dirty solvents in a metal conatiner with a top (even a used paint can will work). There is a green way to dispose of it by taking it to your local waste disposal facility. Yes, they have a place to take care of it there!

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