Earth Art – Carrie Ziegler

Rise Above Plastics: The Butterfly Effect 2014

My artworks explore the interface between participant, viewer, and subject, resulting in immersive works that compel change. They are process oriented, drawing from relevant environmental and social issues. The finished artworks themselves are impressive and multi-layered, pulling the viewer in. The underlying collaboration and community participation results in tangible action.

When people view the suspended installation, Rise Above Plastics: The Butterfly Effect, they are first mesmerized by hundreds of butterflies gently spinning and reflecting the light. When they notice that together, the butterflies form a human figure, emerging from a chrysalis, with butterflies of change flying from her heart, they are overcome with awe. When they hear the story of how the piece was made of up-cycled plastic trash, by 700 children and young adults, as a message of hope and inspiration, of personal choice and empowerment, they are mobilized to ask questions and look at their own actions and how they are personally impacting the world.

In my work, the subject matter drives the medium. When working on a project about plastics in the ocean, up-cycled plastic is the obvious choice. When working to beautify a bike trail in an industrial zone, paint transforms a graffiti-filled wall into something magical. What links my work is the inclusion of many people in the creation and the goal of engaging viewers and inspiring them to make a positive change in their own lives. It challenges them to relate to the subject matter in a new way.

When exploring a new concept, I take in all of the ideas and possibilities, spin them through my artist self and ground them in my experience working in local municipalities, residential construction, environmental education, and consensus decision-making. The outcome is a balance of tangible relatable methodology, inclusion, and true artistic vision.

Working collaboratively allows for a project that is much larger and wider of scope than any I could do alone. These projects give ownership to all involved, and inspire the viewer through the story of their creation. There are countless layers woven into the pieces, compelling the viewer to delve deeper, if they so choose.

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