Green art was born out of the environmental movement of the 1960s and 1970s, which essentially started with the publication of Rachel Carlson’s Silent Spring. Environmental art sought to raise consciousness of the need to be mindful of nature. Though environmental art has been continuously evolving through the decades, its current incarnation is a mix between environmental art and sustainable art. This blend of the two has produced some truly remarkable forms of art, cardboard art among them.
Sustainable art is similar to environmental art, but is focused more on using what one has, or can easily find, and using it well. This form of art is very aware of its environment, whether political, social, economic, biological or ecological, and seeks to interact with these different environments to create a more lasting and sustainable world.
These art forms have seen abundant growth since the resurgence of the idea to leave behind a better world for our grandchildren and great grandchildren. Slowly, people came to realize that however much fun it might be to drive a Hummer in the suburbs, it wasn’t necessary, and would harm the planet. You can’t go far without being reminded that there are 100 different ways to be sustainable and environmentally conscious, from buying fair trade coffee to driving a hybrid car.
So if art reflects the social consciousness at the time of its creation, it was only a matter of time before sustainable art saw a drastic rise, of which cardboard art would be an integral element.
It should be no surprise that this reemergence of sustainable and environmental art would eventually move beyond the bounds of art for art’s sake. Interior design and architecture also hopped on the environmental bandwagon and began incorporating many elements of sustainable art. Homes and furniture were being designed with the intent of leaving less of an impact for future generations.
Another reasons for environmental art’s popularity is because of how hip it has become to “go green”. Celebrities love to give back to the environment, endorse eco-friendly products and star in public service announcements promoting more sustainable living. Companies increasingly advertise how they are doing their part to lessen their environmental impact. It is one of the few instances where peer pressure is actually a good thing.
When taking all of these facts into consideration, it’s logical that paper arts, including cardboard art, would grow into the art form it is today. In our consumer-oriented society, everything we buy is enclosed in one of two materials: paper or plastic. It’s the age-old question that bag boys have been uttering for eons. And even when something is wrapped in plastic, there are pretty good chances it comes in a box, made of cardboard. Because of how much there is and how easy it is to work with, artists have begun using cardboard to great effect.