10 March 2015

Artist Uses Paint Made From Toxic River Sludge To Create Art To Fund Clean Up

This project is attempting to fund the costly process of cleaning up toxic waste by turning it into paint for artists. They do this by using the iron oxide from sludge from the nearby abandoned underground coal mines in south Ohio.

The project is the product of Ohio University professors Guy Riefler, who tested the paint with art professor John Sabraw. He has produced paintings based on the repetitive micro patterns in nature, like veins on a leaf. The paintings are layered, with some having half an inch of paint on the canvas.

According to Sabraw, the current small scale production sees different batches of paint from different places, which result in variations in color, texture and even smell. The team hopes to continue research and eventually create pigment to sell so that they can fund a full clean up of the streams.

Once perfected the team hopes to help other regions with similar metal problems and also inspire others to tackle local problems. A recent art show at the Thomas McCormick Gallery in Chicago showcases paintings using the pigments.

Scroll down to see Sabraw's art work or head over here to find out more.

[via Fast Company]