Artists on Climate Change

by Carolyn Edlund

Artists are often leaders who draw attention to social, political and environmental issues and foment conversations that lead to action.


Each of these artists makes bold visual statements about the dangers to our environment, using their own unique voice and creativity to make impact. We asked, “How does your art address the issue of climate change, and what do you hope to achieve by sharing your body of work?”


climate change art about glaciers

“Bleeding Glacier” mixed media, 90cm x 90cm by Nicole Herzog-Verrey


Nicole Herzog-Verrey

I am a photographer, visual and plastic artist from Switzerland living in Madrid, Spain. The beauty of mountains has always been an important source of inspiration for my creative artwork. Twelve years ago, I myself witnessed the enormous retreat of the Trient glacier in Switzerland. This shock made me decide to talk about glacier thaw in the Alps though images. Ever since, I have visited alpine glaciers in summer to observe their agony. I take a great number of pictures during my excursions. Later, when I am back home in Madrid, I work on this material and express the tragic evolution of the landscape, highlighting artistically what I have seen.


Art installation showing the retreat of a glacier

“Portrait du Glacier de Moiry Privas” mixed media installation by Nicole Herzog-Verrey


In 2008, there were very few artists concerned with global warming. Now it is one of the main subjects for artists with an interest in nature and environment. People who are from mountain regions receive my message easily. In countries without snow and glaciers, they only recently begin to understand the problem of climate change, thanks to the many publications about the thaw of glaciers all over the world. My approach is subjective and not scientific at all. My aim is to make people feel the tragedy while seeing beautiful artwork.


ceramic sculpture of coral by Sandra Giunta

“Thermal Reaction” ceramic sculpture by artist Sandra Giunta


Sandra Giunta

While living in coastal Belize, the proximity of the second largest coral reef in the world became a major influence on my work. Sculpting in clay was the ideal medium to create the detailed textures, forms, and colors of diverse corals. The initial goal was to share the beauty, complexities, and patterns of this hidden world by focusing on individual corals and then grouping corals for installations.


ceramic sculpture of hand with coral showing effect of climate change

“They’re In Our Hands 2” ceramic sculpture by Sandra Giunta


But while floating above this invisible world, the greatest impact was realizing the destruction these incredible natural reef structures faced due to climate change. Environmental influences such as a rise in ocean temperatures, pollution, overfishing, runoff, and careless tourism have led to coral bleaching events causing corals to lose their vibrant colors, a dire forewarning of death. I expanded my work to emphasize this precarious balance, counterpoising live and bleached corals in my “Shadows” series and then incorporating the human impact in both destroying and saving the reefs evolved into my “Coralized” series. Bringing this underwater world above the surface keeps it visible and emphasizes the reality that human activities are creating this imbalance. I hope my art serves as a life line to coral reefs and encourages corrective interventions.


oil painting about climate change

“Last Trees on Earth” oil on canvas by Zachia Middlechild


Zachia Middlechild

Earth is our precious “Blue Marble” in the universe and our one and only home. Yet human activity is burning, flooding, and destroying habitat and species are going extinct. I’m trying to fight this with my environmental art, EcoSpiritual Expressionism. My artwork shows the beauty and magnificence of our planet and its diversity to make people realize what we have to lose. Then I add a spiritual component to promote higher consciousness. My most conceptual artwork, such as “Last Trees on Earth” shows a future where we might be going if we don’t act now.


Painting of nature in God's Hands

“In God’s Hands” oil on canvas, 40″ x 52″ by Zachia Middlefield


And finally, with the Save the Earth Campaign, I donate 50% of the profit from my limited edition print sales to the World Wildlife Fund and a portion of my original oil sales to the Sierra Club. They are both leaders in the fight to save our planet and the precious wildlife and ecosystems that are disappearing as we speak. This has always been my mission in life and as an artist. By sharing my artwork to a wider audience, I hope to get closer to achieving my goal.


Artwork about melting glaciers

“Ice Melting: Rivulets” mixed media on panel, 16″ x 20″ by Ellen Alt


Ellen Alt

Glacial ice is cold, colorful and melting. The thawing process is ruinous and gorgeous, inspiring and catastrophic. The contradictory feeling of being swept away by beauty while comprehending the devastation is the motivation for this work. Water is the lifeblood of our planet and the majority of freshwater is in glacial ice. This work is about the balance between liquid and frozen, salty and fresh; what is lost by melting and what will be revealed. My hope is that awareness turned into action.


mixed media art about melting ice in glaciers

“Ice Writing: River II” mixed media on steel, 15″ x 24″ by Ellen Alt


There are 50 pieces, ranging from 11” x 14” to 36” x 72” in this body of work. It is organized into three groups: Ice Melting, Ice Writing and the White Series. The first series is about the compelling forms created by the melting process. The second series addresses what will be revealed as ice thaws. Messages appear in a cross-cultural record of our linguistic symbols, showing us our history and communicating ways to move forward. The White Series turns ice into water over a 10-part narrative progression. Materials include ink, acrylic, oil paint, spray paint, epoxy resin, wax, glass, sand, plastic, glitter, salt, sugar, rocks, clay and found objects.



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