In Contemplation of Earth Day: Artist Materials

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by Rowynn Dumont

In celebration of Earth Day, Agora Gallery made a list of three art suppliers that consider things like non-toxic and locally sourced materials, carbon footprint, and recyclables. When thinking about eco-friendly art supplies, it is also essential to consider one’s health. Ingredients in glues, inks, dyes, and other goods can contain xylene, toluene, and heavy metals; these additives create toxic fumes harmful to the body. In contemplating a healthier and more environmentally sound option, think about utilizing watercolors or milk paints instead of oil or acrylic. A green alternative to inks is walnut ink. Products like wax children’s crayons, limestone powder gesso kits (plant-based), and hand-made papers are also exceptional alternatives.

environmental friendly artist materials

One company that ticks all of the boxes is Natural Earth Paint (USA). This Oregon-based company was initially started by artist, mother, and environmentalist Leah Fanning. Leah had a strong desire to find high-quality, non-toxic art components, so she decided to make her own. Birthed out of this came the Children’s Earth Paint Kit and the Earth Oil Paint Kit. Since then, she has created many artists’ paints, solvents, and mediums with the Gold certification from Green America. Leah’s earth paints do not have any lead in them; made with primary clay soil and walnut oil. She sources her elements from nature and doesn’t use any fillers or stabilizers. NEP only uses locally made, 100% post-consumer recycled packaging and glass bottles. The company also operates out of a 100% solar-powered facility.

If earth paints are not for you, and you love oil paints but want to take a green approach, LUKAS Berlin came up with a solution. These oils are designed with a high concentration of pigments, with linseed and sunflower oil binding. The buttery texture is created with beeswax, so they are vegetarian but not vegan-friendly. The thing that stands out about them is that you won’t get the same nasty headache that you usually would utilize traditional oil paints. They are optimal for an indoor environment without the usual fumes.

Last on the Agora list is Tri-Art (Canada). Tri-Art is a company that is committed to making materials for professionals and amateurs alike. All of their products are packed in-house with 30% recycled plastics. The best thing about this company is that they utilize a water filtration system. Water is critical for the manufacturing of acrylic paints, which produces an excess amount of greywater. The filtration system Tri-Art has in place makes sure that clean-up is handled correctly and no water goes to waste. Tri-Art also has an excellent selection of hemp-blended canvases. These blends are more beneficial to the environment, as hemp is a more sustainable crop. The canvases are also mold-resistant, guaranteeing longevity.
Eco-artist materials are becoming more popular as a standard and common practice. As Frank Lloyd Wright says, “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” If you want more information on companies talked about in this article, check out the links below:

Natural Earth Paint


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