Sustainability in Art


The social shift towards living more sustainably aims to reduce the negative effect that humans have on the planet in the hopes of safely living on the earth with other species in more healthy ecosystems for many generations to come.

art sustainability

Sustainable art can be defined in a variety of ways, as can most aspects of the art world. Some artists are primarily concerned with expressing environmental issues, while others use environmentally friendly materials and studio practices in their work.

sustainable art history

Even though the term ‘Sustainable art’ is relatively new, qualities of sustainability have been practiced by many creatives from many cultures long before a term was invented for it.

types of sustainable art 

land art

Many artists began challenging the traditional gallery model in the 1970s by creating work that is site-specific and uses the earth and environment as mediums. These works were called Land Art, Earth art, or Earthworks.

conceptual art

In Conceptual art, the idea behind the artwork is the most important aspect of the work and it is even more significant than the end product.

famous sustainable artists you should know

agnes denes (1931 - present)

Her work is often site-specific, uses nature as her medium, and is conceptual in nature. One of her most famous works is the ambitious Wheatfield — A Confrontation, created in 1982.

el anatsui (1944- present)

The internationally acclaimed artist El Anatsui has been transforming simple found materials into stunning assemblages that have captivated his audience since he first started making art.

andy goldsworthy (1956-present)

Viewing nature as a collaborator in his work, Goldsworthy engages with the natural cycles of creation and decay. Through his work, he often celebrates nature’s organic patterns and brings people’s attention to the beauty of the natural world.

olafur eliasson (1967-present)

Artist Olafur Eliasson’s work exemplifies how artists use sustainable materials to highlight the dangers of climate change.

maya lin (1959-present)

The critical engagement with site and place is at the heart of Maya Lin’s work, which reflects systems of nature and encourages her audience to contemplate the complexity and serenity of the natural world.