Artists are inspired by anything and everything. But how many artists are influenced by climate change? Using a scientific phenomenon to create a work of art isn’t a likely scenario for many visual artists but one exception is artist and scientist Jill Pelto. Recently Pelto’s work was the subject of an art segment of PBS Newshour.
In her piece “Climate Change Data” the background is a pale graph with an arching line of small planets one darker than the next, each with higher different temperature numbers. In the foreground a layered landscape of dark and light glaciers melt into deep icy waters. For Pelto, there is no nature without numbers. Her caption for this piece says she “uses multiple quantities: the annual decrease in global glacier mass balance, global sea level rise, and global temperature increase. I wanted to convey in an image how all of this data must be compared and linked together to figure out the fluctuations in Earth’s natural history.” Pelto has a keen eye and delicate hand. Her images are sensorial and engaging. Any viewer can’t help wanting to know more about climate change. Most of the works Pelto’s website are watercolors (including all the data-driven art) but she also uses acrylics and she also uses acrylics and incorporates printmaking techniques such as monoprinting and screenprinting, both of which use inks. The watercolors vary from 6 inches x 8inces to 9 inches by 12 inches with Acrylic works on canvas are usually larger. Pelto, a recent graduate from the University of Maine, majored in earth science and studio art. Ideas for her paintings come from past expeditions to mountain glaciers in the state of Washington, the Dry Valleys of Antarctica and the Falkland Islands. Other sites to learn about her are: