Sustainable Artist #3: John Sabraw

Unlike the past couple of artists I’ve talked about, John Sabraw is more of what you think of when you hear the term “artist”. His sustainable works follow along more the traditional lines of artistry, since he paints images that “point out similar synergies between natural phenomena and man-made structures in the landscape around him” (Gibson). Sabraw uses Corkboard harvested from Portugal to paint these vivid images. These images range from clouds of interstellar dust to basic everyday items that every viewer has in instant connection with. The best thing about these paintings are the way in which they come about and are transformed into these magnificent spectacles. Each painting has between six to twenty four layers of paint that has been painstakingly applied over weeks and weeks. The final effect of this is phenomenal though, since it raises questions such as “Is the circle a slice of earthen jasper, a flaring gamma ray in the night sky, a swatch of algae, a single cell of energy pulsing in the body?” (Gibson).

When asked to describe his work in one word, Sabraw uses the word “sustainability”. The way in which he exhibits sustainability are endless, and here are a few:

  • Doesn’t paint on canvas, uses aluminum sandwiched by a plastic core, wont corrode or crack
  • Bamboo frames that are organically grown
  • Water-based clear coat
  • Lightweight pieces save on shipping costs
  • Water-based paints
  • Paint created from iron runoff in coal mines

All in all, Sabraw’s work embodies what it is to be a sustainable artist, and is very thought provoking and overall truly breathtaking.

Tidal Pool


Gibson, A. (2012, May). Earth Works: Artist John Sabraw makes a case for sustainable art in a new series of paintings that celebrate the natural world . In Ohio University. Retrieved January 25, 2013

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