Category Archives: Environmental Art

Environmental Art: Unintentional Aerosol Can Explosion

This is part of a series where I examine interesting pieces of environmental art.

The image to the right is a photo of an aerosol spray can explosion inside a flammable storage cabinet. The can wasn’t old and there wasn’t any fire or unusual heat or pressure added. It made this cool splash on the door and sides, with the rest of the paint soaking the bottom. I was surprised when I opened the cabinet. I think my reactions were, “What the?” and then, “Cool.” Is this environmental art? It is art at all since it was unintentional? I think the unintentional part makes it better than if it was deliberate. In fact, there seems to be a whole class of unintentional or accidental art. I thought it was interesting enough to take a photo of it. Therefore, I’m calling it art. Continue reading

Exploring Environmental Art: Astrophotography

Star SelfieThis is part of a series where I explore interesting pieces of environmental art.

I recently took a photograph of the moon, Venus and Mars together in one frame. My son initially spotted the crescent moon low in the sky at dusk. Young kids have a curiosity and wonder about nearly everything. Looking at the photo with my son I realized how astrophotography has the power to spark that wonder. In order to appreciate how astrophotography fits into the umbrella of environmental art I wanted better photos. I asked my friend Brian Kraft, a professional photographer, and he didn’t disappoint. He provided these great photographs and cool time-lapse video at the bottom of the page. You can check out more of his photography at

Astrophotography captures the sky and inspires us to take a deeper look into space. It often lets us see more than we can with the naked eye. The good astrophotography, like any good photograph, become more than a photograph. They become art. They provide a medium to contemplate the extraterrestrial world. They help us understand our place in the cosmos, which can lead to further appreciation of earth and space sciences. Continue reading

Exploring Environmental Art: Fish Fossil

Fossil art displayed at the Colorado Mills Mall, Lakewood, CO

Fossil art displayed at the Colorado Mills Mall, Lakewood, CO

This is part of a series where I explore interesting pieces of environmental art

This cool 6-7 foot fish fossil, titled “Still Waters” by Gary Sutphin, is displayed outside an entrance to the Colorado Mills Mall in Lakewood, CO. It is not a museum. It is clearly displayed as art. Does it fit within the category of “environmental art”? If I ask myself this questions then it probably does. It’s science, a fossilized prehistoric fish, displayed like a painting or sculpture. Therefore, yes it is very much environmental art. If this piece gets you thinking about fossils, dinosaurs, prehistory, or big fish, then the artist has done his part to create environmental art. Continue reading

Exploring Environmental Art: Garden Photography

This is part of a series where I explore interesting pieces of environmental art

As a recreational gardener and landscaper around my home, I’ve been enjoying unique photographs of gardens and landscapes. I would classify this niche of photography as environmental art. They show a unique perspective on the use of the land by man. (Not The Man, but man.) The photographs encourage people to “take in the outdoors”. If they, or any garden photography, interest you, inspire you to grow a vegetable garden, take a closer look at plants, or merely help you appreciate the beauty of being outside, then they’ve done their part as environmental art.

After some research I discovered that garden photography has a niche within the field of photography. A couple organizations that caught my eye are the Professional Garden Photographers’ Association and the International Garden Photographer of the Year. So I’m not breaking new ground by recognizing it. It does deserve recognition as environmental art.


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Exploring Environmental Art: Earth Tree

Earth Tree

Environmental Art? I’d say so.

This is part of a series where I explore interesting pieces of environmental art.

I saw this earth tree metal working piece in an emergency pet hospital. It was not the best time to try to appreciate a piece of environmental art. I was dropping off my dog post-surgery to be observed overnight.

It’s a pretty cool work of art and it’s a map. (I’m a sucker for a cool map.) The continents of the earth are the leaves on a tree that has grown out of the ground where the animals roam. It’s a good message that you could dig in to on many levels – animals were here first; the continents have shifted as the tree grew up and spread out; the earth is a natural process and there’s continual growth and rebirth of these processes; ecological processes; it’s a mix of geology and biology.

I think that last one is what I like about it most. It merges geology and biology. It makes a statement that they are related and even can be interpreted that geology comes from biology, not the other way around. Although let’s be clear, the rocks were here first.

I asked the front desk about it and wasn’t surprised to find out it was made by a veterinarian who had worked there. This vet has a talent beyond healing sick dogs. It’s not just the message that makes this an interesting piece of art. Physically building it is impressive as well.

One more thought about it. It’s not a typical North American-centered map. I appreciate maps that give a differnent perspective.

Exploring Environmental Art: Sand Trails

Sand Trails photography by Susan Alexander.

Sand Trails, photograph by Susan Alexander.

This is part of a series where I explore interesting pieces of environmental art

This is a great example of eARTh or earth as art. As an earth scientist, I appreciate art that capture the beauty of a natural process. In this photo, award-winning photographer, Susan Alexander, captured the beauty of the eroding sand. You can stand on a beach all day and continually watch the waves and tides erode and deposit sand. Susan captures this continual process in a unique way and turned it into art. Very cool.

What makes this photograph special is that you’ll never see this exact image again…ever. That’s the beauty of water processes; it’s never the same twice. Waterfalls, rivers, waves, erosion, they may look repetitive from a distance, but moving water is never the same.

It takes more than just a good artist’s eye to see this, but also a good photographer to understand the lighting, composure, and technical skills to capture it. I’ve tried to take enough photographs of landscapes and earth processes to know that I’m impressed with this photograph.

The photographer may not have realized she was making environmental art when she took the photograph, but that’s how I perceive it. I immediately saw the eroding sand and made a connection. I guess that’s part of the process of art; everyone may take something different from it. I see environmental art.

This was photographed by Susan Alexander in Cape May, NJ in 2013.

Exploring Environmental Art


I have a growing interest in environmental art and I’m going to pursue it. Not making environmental art, but looking for it, appreciating and understanding it.

I don’t have an art education background or experience, but I’ve been seeing and thinking about the power of environmental art. Art is designed to grab your attention, inspire, or make you think. That’s what it does for me. When I see an interesting piece, I want to know more about it. What do I see? Does it have a deeper meaning? What was the artist’s intent? Is it the same as the artist? Does it matter?

I first need to come to an understanding of what fits in to the category of environmental art. Is it art that makes an environmental message, art that is made from natural or other environmental-related materials, both, or those and more? To me, it’s all of that as long as it creates a relationship, connection, understanding or appreciation of a natural process or environmental issue.

An example I enjoy, which is typically a photograph, is eARTh or Earth Art. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s the earth’s natural processes or landscapes captured with a beauty or perspective to create art.

Here’s what I plan to do about this new interest. As I see environmental art or artists, I’ll write about it here and do my best to highlight and explain it from my perspective. I may even get the artist’s perspective. I’m not going to be an art critic. I just want to understand the art. So stay tuned for my take on the environmental art that comes across my path.