Four SK Eco-Artists (and more!) that you should check out

“Save Energy” by Tanner Halonen

Like what you see? Two grade seven students from Saskatchewan won the national 2009 Energy and the Environment Art Contest under the theme “Using Less – Living Better.” The students did so well, it got thegreenpages thinking – what other great environmentally-focused art is coming out of Saskatchewan? Eco-art can include paintings or songs about nature, but also artwork that is situated in the environment or incorporates recycled materials. The “Land of the Living Skies” has much to offer:

“Copy” by Jeff Gudmundson Photo from The Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils
“Copy” by Jeff Gudmundson Photo from The Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils

Estevan-based artist Jeff Gudmundson keeps piles of materials he finds or accumulates in his studio and backyard, using the objects to create art. A mixture of collage, various mediums and reclaimed materials, his art gives many objects a second chance. The Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils puts it best: “Hidden behind the graphics and bold colours, we find contraptions made from hinges, nails, and metal “bits & bobs”, delighting us when we do discover them.”

“Doll House” by Heather Benning  Photo from Mocoloco

The ultimate in reclaimed materials for art – an abandoned house! Saskatchewan artist Heather Benning created a life-sized dollhouse in a southwestern field in 2007. Inspired by the abandoned homes she saw in her childhood, Heather wanted to continue to explore the passage of time showing what the house may have looked like full of life. Heather specializes in site-specific installations in Saskatchewan and other provinces. See more pictures of Dollhouse and her “Field Doll” creation.

“Bison Heart XVIII” by Adam Stimson Photo from Nouveau Gallery

Having spent his younger years in Saskatchewan, and earning a Masters of Fine Arts here too, Adrian Stimson has found much inspiration and connections with this province. Adrian is most notably know for his performance pieces and personas including “Buffalo Boy” a regular fixture at the Burning Man festival in Nevada. See a full description of his work at the Mendal Art Gallery.

Furniture and sculpture by Cory Barkman Photos from Corybarkman.com

Cory Barkman lives in Calgary now but credits his time growing up on his family’s Saskatchewan farm, including its junk pile, for inspiration. From furniture to sculpture, his work melds wood, steel and other found materials that are often thrown to waste from other projects, usually from builders. His creative way of recycling, and eye for design, has interior decorators sourcing his creations. See a full interview with Cory in the Calgary Herald.

We can’t stop at sculptures…
Literature: It would be remiss to leave out one of the most famous environmental writers in Canada, and Saskatchewan born too, Farley Mowat. His love and concern for nature and the environment and infused throughout his writing.

Film: The 2009 Saskatchewan Environmental Film Festival is a great place to discover provincial eco-filmmakers like Joel Entwistle (and his creation “Love to Love You Landfills”) and films that focus on Saskatchewan ecologists such as Jeanne Corrigal’s “Jim Settee – the Way Home.”

Fashion: If you can’t paint it – wear it. A Moose Jaw teen entered her trash-to-treasure creation – a vinegar bottle and button necklace – in to a national high-school competition and came out with not only wearable art but a top award.

Music: An environmental scientist from the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan that sings – that’s Don Waite. His “EarthSongs”, fun for kids and adults, focus on topics like air pollution, recycling and water.

Got more to add to the list? Let’s see them in the comments!

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