For some time now I’ve been researching into ways of making my art and craft practice more ethical. There are obvious things such as using sustainably sourced paper/card etc and paints which have been produced with a minimum of chemicals and where the companies take their responsibility to the environment seriously.
The big dilemma for me so far as an artist is when you’re forced to choose between the results you want for the look of your work and your ethical stance.
We all spend years agonising over finding our niche as an artist, finding our unique style, our subject matter, getting our materials right to give us an end product that were happy with (or as happy as our inner art critic will ever let us be!) So limiting yourself to only using materials that leave you with a clean conscience throws a huge spanner into the works.
I recently found a paper-maker whose paper meet my standards for quality and ethics, but are slightly too textured for the fine details I like to capture on the faces of my pin up girls…so what to do? Do I stick with the paper at the expense of the artwork, do I go back to my perfect, but less ethical paper…or do I jog on and keep experimenting with different materials … which, as you would imagine, gets very expensive!
This dilemma is something I’m still battling with, and is something I have discussed with printmakers and other illustrators. Art is a pretty toxic business.
My heart says to keep searching.