Posts tagged
with environment


Discarded Scallop Shells Combine with Recycled Plastics in the Waste-Reducing ‘Shellmet’

January 12, 2023

Kate Mothes

A shell-shaped helmet made from recycled plastics and discarded scallop shells.

All images © Quantum and TBWA\Hakuhodo

The village of Sarufutsu in Hokkaido, Japan, is known for bringing in some of the country’s biggest hauls of scallops. Unfortunately, when the bivalves are processed for the food industry, they generate about 40,000 tons of discarded shells annually. The village teamed up with product design startup Quantum and plastics manufacturer Koushi to tackle the ever-mounting quantities in local landfills. Along came Hotamet—a portmanteau of “hotate” (which means scallop) and “helmet”—alternatively known as Shellmet. The marine-inspired, eco-friendly safety accessory incorporates discarded, crushed scallop shells into a protective covering.

A main component of seashells is calcium carbonate, a compound also found in hard materials like eggshells, pearls, and some rocks and minerals. Combined with recycled plastic, the substance produces a tough material that Quantum and Koushi could form into headgear. “Based on the idea of biomimicry, Shellmet incorporates a special rib structure in its design that mimics the structure of scallops, which are part of the material. As a result, we have achieved a strength approximately 33 percent greater than normal,” Quantum says.

Originally designed as a protective hat for the fishing community, Shellmet will also come in handy when Japan mandates that all bicyclists must wear protective headgear starting in April this year. You can find more information on the company’s website. (via Spoon & Tamago)


A row of shell-shaped helmets made from recycled plastics and discarded scallop shells.

A collection of shell-shaped helmets made from recycled plastics and discarded scallop shells, photographed on a beach.

A mound of scallop shells.

A detail of a shell-shaped helmet made from recycled plastics and discarded scallop shells.

A shell-shaped helmet made from recycled plastics and discarded scallop shells.

A group of three fishermen wearing shell-shaped helmets made from recycled plastics and discarded scallop shells.





So Far So Good: Vivid Paintings by Murmure Take a Wry Perspective on the Climate Crisis

November 22, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Faille (Crack)” (2022), acrylic on canvas. All images © Murmure, shared with permission courtesy of Galerie LJ

Artists Paul Ressencourt and Simon Roche, a.k.a. Murmure (previously), have worked collaboratively for the past twelve years to synthesize a studio-based practice with large-scale street art. In high-contrast acrylic paintings, the duo reference the climate crisis and enduring problems of overconsumption, especially regarding the immense impact that humans have on marine life and rising sea levels. The artists’ new exhibition Jusqu’ici tout va bien, which translates to “So far so good,” approaches environmental catastrophes like thawing glaciers and overfishing from a characteristically sardonic perspective.

Ressencourt and Roche focus on the absurdity of capitalist systems in the face of destruction. Paradoxes abound as surveyors plot developments on a melting ice sheet, supine whales are served up as giant sushi rolls, and oblivious holiday-makers dive from icebergs and wade around shorelines devoid of flora and fauna. “In spite of everything, Murmure favors in their art a form of beauty which contrasts with the cruelty, the stupidity, and the urgency of the situations depicted in their works,” the exhibition statement explains.

Jusqu’ici tout va bien is on view at Galerie LJ in Paris through November 26. You can find more of Murmure’s work on their website and Instagram.


A painting by Murmure of a whale being served up as sushi with chopsticks.

“Whale Sushi” (2022), acrylic on canvas

A painting by Murmure of people swimming by an iceberg.

“Jusqu’ici tout va bien (Banquise)” or “So far so good (Ice)” (2022), acrylic on canvas

A painting by Murmure of people swimming by an iceberg.

“Joyau” (2022)

A painting by Murmure of people swimming by an iceberg.

Detail of “Joyau (Jewel)” (2022), acrylic on canvas

A painting by Murmure of a whale underwater that is sliced into maki rolls.

“Whale Maki” (2022), acrylic on canvas

A painting by Murmure of two surveyors plotting lines on an ice sheet.

“Marquages (Markings)” (2022), acrylic on canvas

Two details of paintings by Murmure.

Left: Detail of “Whale Sushi.” Right: Detail of “Joyau”

Detail of “Faille”

A painting by Murmure of people swimming by an iceberg.

Detail of “Joyau”

A painting by Murmure of people swimming by an iceberg.

Detail of “Jusqu’ici tout va bien (Grande Banquise)”




Diverse Ecosystems Merge in Hyperrealistic Paintings of Flora and Fauna by Lisa Ericson

November 4, 2022

Kate Mothes

An acrylic painting by Lisa Ericson of a deer standing on a reef of coral.

“High Tide” (2022), acrylic on panel. All images © Lisa Ericson, shared with permission

Ecosystems intermingle and mammals find themselves immersed in an increasingly watery world in Lisa Ericson’s hyperrealistic acrylic paintings. A hare and a mountain goat, which would typically be found in dry climates or high elevations, stand atop a small island of cacti or rock in an ongoing series of works that view the climate crisis—especially the impending rise of sea levels—through a lens of magical realism.

Drawing on the artistic legacy of chiaroscuro, or contrast between the bright figures and deep background, Ericson’s compositions appear as if a spotlight has been directed on the scene to highlight unusual interactions, such as a fox ferrying bluebirds across a waterway or a mountain goat stranded on a submerged rocky peak. Furthering the notion that environmental change cannot be ignored, the titles speak to witnessing immense change, experiencing a sense of foreboding, and heeding warnings.

You can see some of Ericson’s recent works on view at Antler Gallery in Portland, Oregon, through November 20, and find more on her website and Instagram.


An acrylic painting by Lisa Ericson of a fox wading through water with numerous bluebirds on its back.

“Risky Business” (2022), acrylic on panel

An acrylic painting by Lisa Ericson of a hare and a bird on top of a cactus, which surfaces from the water.

“Late Warning” (2022), acrylic on panel

An acrylic painting by Lisa Ericson of a mountain goat standing half-submerged in water on top of a rock with fish at its feet.

“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (2022), acrylic on panel

An acrylic painting by Lisa Ericson featuring a fish with fins that look like coral and two other fish.

“Shelter in Place” (2022), acrylic on panel

An acrylic painting by Lisa Ericson of a fox with moss and fungi growing on its back.

“Wake Me When It’s Over” (2020), acrylic on panel

An acrylic painting by Lisa Ericson of a red squirrel on top of a turtle's back.

“Treading Water” (2022), acrylic on panel




Anthropomorphic Interventions in the Landscape by Estelle Chrétien Playfully Examine Rural Life

April 26, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Land Operation” (2016-2020). All images © Estelle Chrétien, shared with permission

For artist Estelle Chrétien, the expansive lawns, fields, and wooded ravines around her home in Nancy, France, and other parts of Europe become sites of mischievous mixed-media interventions. Through a playful approach that she refers to as gauillant, akin to the feeling of playing in the mud or jumping in puddles, the works develop through chance encounters with the landscape and objects within it. Displayed in an “open-air” exhibition style, her pieces can be encountered by viewers in a similar way, with the potential to surprise and delight.

Chrétien is particularly interested in rural and natural places and examines the way we interact with those environments through an often humorous or ironic anthropomorphizing of her surroundings. Naturally occurring forms and textures inspire temporary installations like “Dessous” (“Underneath”) in which a tree with a double trunk, adorned with some oversized underpants, transforms into a pair of long legs jutting out of the ground. In “Opération Terrestre” (“Land Operation”) the manicured lawn of a stately home has received a wound in need of stitches.

The process of learning how to construct or manipulate different mediums is an important part of Chrétien’s approach. From crocheting industrial twine around a hay bale to repurposing a door into the shape of a giant key fob, she enjoys experimenting with unassuming materials in unexpected locations. She is currently preparing for a new open-air project in France this summer, and you can find more of her projects on her website and Instagram.


“Dessous” (2020)

“Land Operation” (2016-2020)

“Les pieds au sec” (2015-2020), in collaboration with Miguel Costa

“Ficelle Agricole Bleue” (2014)

“Dessous” (2020). Image by Miguel Costa

“Propriété” (2021)

“Colonne” (2020)




An Ornate Metallic Butterfly Hides Hundreds of Symbols in a Screenprint by Seb Lester

November 22, 2021

Christopher Jobson

“Butterfly” (2021), a two color hand-pulled screenprint (Rose Gold & Moon Gold) on Peregrina Majestic Kings Blue Paper. All images © Seb Lester, shared with permission

In his latest screenprint, artist and calligrapher Seb Lester (previously) focuses on the Transcendentals: the virtues of truth, beauty, and goodness as they manifest to all living things. In the form of a butterfly, the work is filled with dozens of hidden symbols that dot the insect’s wings and abdomen, a mixture of order and chaos rendered in metallic ink. Lester shares about the piece:

It has been said that artists often seek to create order from chaos. Recent times have been nothing if not chaotic. In ‘Butterfly’ I’m trying to visualise a beautiful reconciliation, a balancing and harmonising of our currently fraught and destructive relationship with the flora and fauna of this beautiful and fragile planet.

Butterfly” is available as a limited edition of 75 in Lester’s shop and is nearly sold out. You can follow more from the Lewes, England-based artist on Instagram.





Fantastical Digital Paintings Position Wildlife in Unnaturally Colorful Environments

October 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Grove Square Galleries, shared with permission

Photographic artist Jim Naughten casts a fantastical, candy-colored lens over luxuriant ecosystems and surreal animal portraits in Eremozoic, a solo exhibition on view at Grove Square Galleries through November 18. Comprised of digitally altered compositions, the series centers on rhinos, manatees, and myriad wild animals in strange, unearthly settings: a tall brown bear stands on its hind legs in a field of bright pink grass, a gorilla rests in similarly vibrant foliage, and orangutans swing through leafy branches in shades of blue.

While the animals usually are isolated in true color, the backdrops evoke infrared photography, and Naughten’s unnatural alterations tinge the otherwise realistic imagery with magical elements. The artist says the manipulations convey humanity’s ever-growing disconnect with the environment, which he explains in a statement:

I’m interested in how, in the evolutionary blink of an eye, humans have come to dominate and overwhelm the planet and how far our relationship with the natural world has fundamentally and dangerously shifted from that of our ancestors. I hope the work will create awareness and discourse about this disconnection, our fictionalized ideas about nature and possibilities for positive change.

Although the pieces venture into a strange realm of kaleidoscopic details, they have biological reality at their core, and the exhibition title, Eremozoic, refers to the current era of the earth’s evolution. Biologist and writer E. O. Wilson introduced the term to characterize this “period of mass extinction due to human activity. The Eremozoic Age is alternatively referred to as The Age of Loneliness, and this sense of dislocation and disorientation is captured in Naughten’s depiction of nature as an unfamiliar, unnatural realm.”

In addition to the collection shown here, Naughten shares a variety of otherworldly renderings on his site and Instagram. (via Creative Boom)