Making Art out of Toxins

With this chapter of the Bigelow and Swinehart textbook being all about oil spills, toxins in the environment, and dangerous carbon emissions, I tried to find a form of art that was less depressing. Something that takes something bleak and hopeless and turns it into something beautiful. While I was researching I stumbled across this article that explained how artists can turn toxic sludge into pigments. It’s no suprise that coal mining has disasterous effects on the environment. It poisons the water and harms the animals that live in those affected areas. Artist John Sabraw stated that the water contained iron oxide from abandoned and active mines. This material is used to create pigment in most paints, so Sabraw wanted to use this as an opportunity to create art, making something beautiful while simultaneously getting rid of the toxins in the environment. These toxins, if collected in large amounts, can theoretically be sold on the market and made into paint. I think that this is a great way to get rid of toxins and to use them for something else. Here are some examples of paintings done with the material:

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