These 5 Environmental And Vegan Artists Are Inspiring Change Through Beauty

August 10, 2020

Environmental and vegan artists not only create impactful pieces of work, but they also raise awareness of important global issues and the need for change. Although each artist’s work is distinctive in style, material and composure, their work is often very similar in their messaging. Some artists are using their work and platform to ask consumers to change their habits, make informed choices and take steps to combat climate change. Here are 5 environmental and vegan artists who are using their skills to educate consumers on the impacts of their habits.

Jo-Anne McArthur

Vegan activist and artist Jo-Anne McArthur uses her photography and writing skills to document and raise awareness of abused and exploited animals. She is the founder of We Animals Media which is a project that brings visibility to hidden animals around the world. Jo-Anne McArthur has tirelessly captured the complicated relationship between humans and animals through books, documentaries, and publications including National Geographic and The Washington Post. She has won many awards for her work and often speaks internationally on photography, social change and relationships between humans and animals.

Jo-Anne McArthur

© Jo-Anne McArthur

Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan uses his art and photography to highlight the issue of mass consumption, plastic pollution, and environmental emergency. His work highlights the need for individuals to take action over being more responsible when it comes to consuming. Chris Jordan often captures discarded products at landfill sights to demonstrate the human relationship between consumer goods and the impact on the environment. His work is often fueled by waste statistic data which reflects the sense of urgency we as consumers need to adopt. Together with his friend and fellow artist Manuel Maqueda, Jordan directed the documentary Albatross, which captured the plight of the biggest flying bird on Earth due to plastic pollution. [Editor’s note: this is Juhea’s favorite environmental film of all time and in the top 5 films of any genre of all time. One of the few projects/causes for which I donated without hesitation.] The documentary is available as free public art here.

Recycling Yard #6, Seattle

Recycling Yard #6, Seattle, 2004 © Chris Jordan

Benjamin Von Wong

Combining fantasy and photography, Benjamin Von Wong uses statistics to fuel his art which demonstrates the urgency of plastic pollution. He uses his platform to inspire change and amplify positive impact. Benjamin Von Wong’s work has attracted the attention of many large corporations and media outlets. He works alongside large brands and campaigns to raise awareness of important issues such as fast fashion, recycling and overconsumption.

Plastic Dive

Plastic Dive © Benjamin Von Wong

Janet Otter

Using her art to spark interest and change people’s consumer habits, Janet Otter uses beach plastics and recycled paper to create impactful illustrations and sculptures. She is passionate about educating on environmental issues through her art and encourages her following to reduce, reuse and recycle to combat the problem of trash and pollution. Using her beautiful works of art as a call to action, Janet Otter encourages consumers to make conscious choices and to question human behavior.

recycled art, pelican by Janet otter

Pelican, made out of beach plastics found in Bonaire in the Caribbean. Pelicans are among the most affected species from plastic pollution. © Janet Otter

Jill Pelto

Jill Pelto communicates environmental science through art, at exhibits and on platforms such as PBS Newshour, Smithsonian, and National Geographic. She uses data and research to create pieces that raise awareness of environmental issues such as climate change and the current state of our ecosystem. Jill Pelto wants her work to inspire people to take action in order to preserve and protect the planet. As a trained scientist (she has a dual degree in Studio Art and Earth and Climate Sciences), she is very passionate about nature and uses her art form to spread facts about rising sea levels, melting glaciers and threatened species. “I hope that my art encourages audiences to connect with science in ways that are emotionally relevant. Art is a powerful platform to ground climate change discussion in everyday life and culture,” she tells TIME.

Time cover

TIME magazine cover by Jill Pelto

Environmental and vegan art has been on the rise for the last 50 years as more and more artists use their skills and expression to motivate consumers to change their habits. Connecting human habits with the impact on nature, artists are striving towards change through education and raising awareness.

Also by Anna: 5 Simple, Sustainable Lifestyle Changes You Can Make

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Related: Can Recycling Mitigate The Climate Crisis? Yes, But There’s A Catch


Photo: respective artists; TIME magazine

Anna Ashbarry
Anna is a Communications and Outreach Manager at Dyslexia Canada and works in a freelance capacity as an activist, photographer and writer. Anna uses various media forms to raise awareness of issues whilst seeking social justice. With a passion for human rights and international development, Anna has worked as a Youth Reporter in Nepal and continues to explore her interest in communications in order to help provide platforms for voices to be heard. Follow Anna on Instagram @annaashbarry


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