Toxic Art: Turning Pollution into Paint [Video]

Cristian WorthingtonFeedToPost, MediaVidi Twitter

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We"re cleaning up polluted streams and turning that toxic pollution into non-toxic pigments, paints and art.For decades, pollution from abandoned underground coalmines has been killing aquatic life in our waterways. This high concentration of acid and heavy metals is called acid mine drainage,...

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We’re cleaning up polluted streams and turning that toxic pollution into non-toxic pigments, paints and art.

For decades, pollution from abandoned underground coalmines has been killing aquatic life in our waterways. This high concentration of acid and heavy metals is called acid mine drainage, or ‘AMD’, and pollutes over 1,300 miles of streams in Ohio alone.

Some of these AMD polluting mine seeps release over one million gallons of toxic water each day. There is so much pollution in this water it’s like junking two cars a day into a stream.

We think we found a way to fix it. We need your help to make it a reality.

Our team of artists, engineers, watershed specialists and students are working to prove a process that will intercept this pollution, extract the heavy metal (iron oxide) and turn it into stunning pigments and paints, and then return the clean and safe water back to the stream, restoring aquatic life.

The collected pigment is fired at different temperatures to make new colors. The pigment can then be blended with different binders to make oil, acrylic, watercolor and other paints.

Right now our process works at the lab level in small batches. We are building this scaled pilot plant to prove it can work at a sustainable, industrial scale.

How it works:
How it works:

I’m John Sabraw and I make art from these pigments and paints to raise awareness of the problem, and our solution: to turn the ugly into the beautiful. Check out this video from ‘That’s Amazing’ for more:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=14&v=uJv6WtfxLUk

  • Cleaning up our rivers and streams.
  • Creating a cool public art wall to enclose our plant by providing funds to design and build it.
  • Providing funds to make artwork that will promote environmental and sustainable solutions.
  • Building an online gallery to feature your art made from our pigments.

The Art Wall: 100 feet in length, this enclosure for the plant will be a public work of art. We are currently working on designs that will engage the public, the community and our pollution solution. It’s a pretty big project and we need funding for materials and construction help. If we reach our goal we will share updates of our progress of course and if you pledge $10 or more we will put your name on the wall.

The Art:
Each new batch of pigment I turn into paints and art with them. See more examples of art I made with AMD at johnsabraw.com. Making and showing these artworks costs quite a bit. Funding is needed for materials, shipping, and all the things necessary for an art exhibition.

We Celebrate You! If you get one of our limited edition paint and pigment sets (pledge level $100), we will feature you and your art in an online gallery we will create solely for art and artists using our pigments! There will be startup and maintenance costs for this that your pledges will fund.

A bit about Gamblin: How beautiful is our AMD pigment? So beautiful that Gamblin Artist Colors, a leading American artist paint manufacturer in Portland, Oregon is making the first limited edition of 37ml tubes of oil paint using our pigments.

Gamblin is deeply invested in artist’s materials and studio practices, so naturally they are also concerned with sustainability and environmental issues. They have been testing our pigments for some time now helping us shape our process to get better and better quality, and now they want to help us share them with you!

Our Challenge: Raising awareness of environmental issues requires creative strategies and methods. I’m an artist, therefore I use art as my method for telling stories. I’d like for you to tell your own story using these pigments and paints. Help me continue to make art to showcase sustainable solutions to pressing issues, and to make the enclosure of our pilot plant as a beautiful, collaborative public work of art.

Our project has been featured on:

Guy Riefler – Civil Engineer, Associate Professor at Ohio University Russ College of Engineering. This process is Guy’s idea, he brought me on board to make the iron oxide into valuable pigments and cool art.

Michelle Shively – Sunday Creek Watershed Coordinator at Rural Action, Ohio. Awesome caretaker of our waterways, and local knowledge encyclopedia.

John Sabraw – Artist, Activist, Environmentalist and Professor at Ohio University School of Art + Design.

6x6 inch digital print
6×6 inch digital print
Founder T-shirt
Founder T-shirt
AMD sludge in a jar
AMD sludge in a jar
Pretty Poison Folio 5x6.75 inches
Pretty Poison Folio 5×6.75 inches
Gamblin Limited AMD paint + pigments
Gamblin Limited AMD paint + pigments
24 x 24 in digital print of Chroma S4 Chimaera
24 x 24 in digital print of Chroma S4 Chimaera

Note: Actual rewards may vary slightly from the images here, we’re still perfecting the t-shirt design and the Pretty Poison folio for instance.

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