Artists create to touch your emotions. An artist who is also an environmentalist creates to move you into action. In this case, the action to save the Earth. One such painter at Dot and Wall is Claudia Herrera. In her own words, “I want the people who see my art to reflect on the impact we are having on the planet.”
As a curious child growing up in the lush countryside of Colombia, Herrera never imagined her talent would lead her to become an artist in pursuit of an environmental cause, deforestation. In her lifetime, she has seen how mother nature’s serene landscape has been abused and destroyed.
She has witnessed the problem first hand in her native Colombia, but she is fully aware that this is a global scale problem. Since 1990, the world has lost 420 million hectares or about a billion acres of forest, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
In some of her art, she transports us back to a time when the Earth was more pure and healthy. In Rural Landscape her use of color is brilliant and crisp. The sky is depicted with vibrant blues and whites. The land in the forefront is alive with red, green and yellow hues. You can clearly see that the air was not polluted and the horizon was marked by mountains not skyscrapers.
In complete contrast, Herrera utilizes mix-media art to demonstrate how we are hurting the planet. The next three pieces show the progression of deforestation that is happening around the world.
Look closely at Woodcutter (below) to see the image of a tiny man cutting down a majestic tree. The bright colors in the painting are overpowered by the ominous dark black and brown hues. In her aggressive use of the spatula, we can see her empowering emotion behind the texture.
In The Saw (right), the metal red chainsaw sticks out harshly against the trees. Herrera implores you to see the pile of wood dead on the forest floor as compared to the living trees standing in the background. The symbolism calls our attention to the disruption we are creating, which is leading to more temperature shifts that are harmful to plants and animals.
The Feller (below) is such an emotionally striking piece. Herrera digs deep with her artistic skill to expose how the orange/yellow metal monster clears away any greenery that once lived. The landscape is barren and the horizon lacks the grand trees that once stood.
Did you know…
National Geographic reports that eighty percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and deforestation threatens species including the orangutan, Sumatran tiger, and many species of birds?
Visit Herrera’s Dot and Wall page to see more of her work and get inspired to do your part.