Saturday Swoon | Mother Earth Day

From Katherine, our Creative Director

I have friend here in Raleigh (the old north state) who has opened up a bottle of whoop ass on the ugly little lie we tell ourselves about recycling.  Meet Denise Hughes.  

Like me, she is a mom of two boys (we raise our eyebrows and nod knowingly often).   Unlike me, she is a fine artist.  Emphasis on fine.

She paints in bold strokes with an eye for the juiciest color.  

Her boy.  Those lips!

Oh, and she also has the best Halloween costumes.  Seen her getting her Tippi Hedren on.  (contrary to her perm-scream, she is on a mission to save the birds.)

Recently, she set aside her paint brush for another medium.  Garbage.  She is creating the most amazing pieces from pieces.  Plastic bottle caps and lids to be precise about her media.  And, her art speaks volumes (and volumes).  

We bang the drum about reuse by ditching paper in favor of cloth napkins.  Denise tackles plasticity.  And, she just bangs it.  Smart women doing good things.  Birds of a feather and all that. 

Here is her collection.  I just want to reach out and touch them.  Texture.  Dimension. 1,000 little stories that remind us that we did this and we need to make it better.   That is why next week I get to help with her latest installation.  A "giving back" tree that will go up on a wall at our children's school.  

This is Denise's artist statement.  


Beauty through Toxicity

Midway Island is an uninhabited island about 2000km from any other coastline.  It lies roughly equidistant between North America and Asia, and almost halfway around the world from England.  The birds there are dying and killing their kin with bits of plastic that glitter in the ocean sun.  None of the plastic disintegrates and eventually fills their tiny stomachs eventually choking them on their own toxicity.

This atrocious act of consumerism at its worst is a sad state of what our world has become.  As we toss out our collections of “recyclables,” we feel better about ourselves.  Little do we realize that every single piece of plastic ever made is still on this planet!

So began my plastic life. 

For now, I layer thousands of caps to create animals that, ironically, consume the very plastic which brings them alive on the canvas.

I never thought of myself as an environmental artist, however, it just makes sense to bring beauty through the toxicity, all the while, teaching ourselves what damage we are doing the world around us.