How often do you think about how much energy or waste your art studio accumulates?

It can be a hard question to face, but it’s one that we need to ask ourselves from time to time. With so much at stake, it’s extremely important for artists to do their part.

We’ve come up with a list overflowing with ways for artists to reduce the carbon footprint of their studio. Take a look:

1. Turn It Off

Let’s start with an easy one: turning off your electronics. It’s amazing how much energy you can save in the studio by completing this simple task.

Get in the habit of turning off the lights when you aren’t in the room or the coffee maker when it’s not in use. Is it a bright, beautiful day outside? Try creating art in the natural light. Or, if you must turn on the lights, switch out your old bulbs with a more energy efficient brand.

2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

We know you’ve heard this one before, but again, it can make or break the carbon footprint of your studio. So follow these rules to become a recycling pro:

  • Stash a recycling bin nearby that you can automatically dump old sketches, used paper towels, boxes, and other cardboard and plastic into.

  • Paint over old canvases for new projects.

  • Reuse plastic containers for materials.

  • Sharpen dull pencils, chalks, xacto knife blades, and other supplies before tossing them.

  • Use both sides of paper to cut your consumption in half.

  • Save palettes of unused paint in the fridge to use again at a later point.

  • Keep packaging materials like bubble wrap to reuse for your own shipping.

  • Store records of your art online with Artwork Archive so you don’t waste paper.

3. Stop Buying Plastic Bottles

While this could fall under our point about recycling, we believe it deserves it’s own point. Why? Because plastic water bottles take over 1,000 years to biodegrade and if incinerated, they produce toxic fumes. It is estimated that over 80% of all single-use water bottles in the U.S. simply become trash.

While staying hydrated is an important way to stay healthy as an artist, it is much better for the environment (and your wallet) to invest in a reusable water bottle, a filtered water pitcher, and some drinking glasses for studio visitors.

4. Trash Toxins Properly

It may seem harmless, but washing brushes right in the sink puts pigment and toxins straight down the drain and into the environment. Instead, rinse paint-filled brushes in solvent or water in a separate container before heading to the sink. The pigment will eventually settle to the bottom of your container; then you can reuse the clean solvent and dump the water as normal.

The next step is to dispose of the old pigments and paint thinners. In her article “12 Practices for Artists to Go Green,” artist Diana Moses Botkin explains that if your pigments contain lead, heavy metals, or other toxins, then the trash simply won’t do. These types of materials  must be disposed of at a hazardous waste facility. Even old rags and paint tubes with these toxins are considered hazardous.

While your  best bet is to choose safe materials from the start, learning about how to properly dispose of the harmful ones is crucial if you choose to use these types of paints. Check out our quick guide to detoxing your art studio to learn more about disposing harmful substances.

5. Clean with Green

Speaking of chemicals, another way to cut back on your use of toxins is to use environment-friendly products when cleaning up your work space. Nowadays these “green” cleaners are easy to come by, so you can keep the studio and your carbon footprint in tip-top shape.

6. Don’t Drive As Much

If your studio requires a drive there and back, consider an alternative—biking, walking, public transit, or carpool. Putting less pollution in the air for even one day out of the week makes a difference.

If driving is the only viable option, consider walking to lunch or completing your other business to-do’s online. Tasks like banking, ordering supplies, and even shipping can be handled without leaving the studio.

A little effort goes a long way.

Let’s face it. All of these suggestions are easy changes to your daily routine. And, if every artist followed through, we’d make a huge dent in keeping the planet healthy. So, be mindful of your studio habits and start reducing your carbon footprint as an artist.

Another way you can help?

EDIT: Competition is now closed.

Bring awareness to this issue with your artwork!

Recent climate reports revealed the need to focus on protecting our environment now more than ever. To illuminate this important issue, Artwork Archive is hosting a call for artists around the world to submit artwork that captures their existing natural landscape or addresses the climate and environment in some way.

Free to enter. Open to all artists and mediums. Over $1000 USD in prizes. Two categories to win - People's Choice and Artwork Archive's Choice. Submit and get votes before Monday, November 5th, 2018!

Learn how to enter here.


Worried about toxins in your home studio? Check out “Should You Get a Separate Art Studio?” to find out if it’s time for a new workspace.