Ourtopia: visions of the future
~ Series in Progress ~
Click on images below to view larger.
Prints available Here!
About the ourtopia series
about each image
I am especially excited about the beginning of this series because I have been envisioning the artwork for over a decade. Originally I was going to call it The Good Life Project - but DANG IT if that title wasn't already taken! However, I think Our-topia is brilliant, because Utopia has connotations of a failed experiment, while Ourtopia sounds like something we worked on together to make it happen.
The series was created (started because it's not done) in response to all the horrible dystopian images that fill our airwaves (and consequently our mind-waves), which I believe create a closed feedback loop where we start to believe that THAT is the only option for our future. I wanted to create an illustrated vision of the future that I wanted to see.... one that inspires hope and gives a blueprint that the viewers could move towards.
I've been thinking a lot about what kind of energy it requires to foster positive change. The energy I'm filled with in response to the constant barrage of bad news tends towards outrage and despair. Though anger can spark action, it can't sustain it. What sustains long term change is excitement, enthusiasm, and hope. And what inspires excitement, enthusiasm and hope? Something to look FORWARD to, not just things to fight against or run away from.
It's kinda like riding a bike. When you are on a trail, and there are all kinds of sticks or rocks, or other bikers, or dogs running around, if you focus on those things you tend to accidentally steer TOWARDS them. You have to look for the clear trail you want to ride on and then it's easy breezy.
I know that sounds *suspiciously* like manifest-y positive thinking woo woo speak. However, I don't believe you should just focus on the good stuff without understanding the bad stuff. There has to be a balance.
The words "balance" and "sustainable" just keep popping up in both what I want within my life now and what future I want to see. The "Good Life" for me is a home and lifestyle that is environmentally sustainable, but not hard scrabble living either. It means community designed living and gathering spaces. It means education that is service oriented and designed to match the growing patterns of a child's mind and body. It means freedom from fear - of un-regulated guns or a fascist un-humanitarian government.
So now I've been trying to illustrate those lofty goals! I've completed 3, and I have a VERY long list of other subjects to illustrate.
"PUUTARHAKAUPUNKI", the image on the top left, is inspired by the work of Ebenezer Howard and the Garden City Movement, as well as New Urbanism, which are both methods of urban planning that focuses on community, walkability, and environmentalism (the "map" in the background shows a bit of the Garden City). The houses are powered by solar tiles and "wind trees" (wind turbines designed to look like trees). The land surrounding homes is designed and cultivated with the principles of permaculture. "Puutarhakaupunki" means "Garden City" in Finnish, because Finland right now is leading the world in sustainability and environmentalism.
"HOME-MAKER" (in the center) illustrates our need to recycle and re-sue items in our household. We are aided by our very own "home-maker" 3d printer, which accept raw materials (trash or broken items from either our own homes or landfills/ocean clean up) that can create new items. This artwork celebrates the movement AWAY from rampant consumerism and back to home made or locally made artifacts.
The artwork at the right is entitled "MED-MIRROR", which goes into one of my future homes, specifically into the bathroom. An intrinsic part of my dream world health care will be preventative: part of that system will include data gathering by our very own powder room! The floors will automatically weigh us as we enter, as well as calculate body fat, water percentage, bone density, and your resting heart rate. Information will be gathered from samples of our waste, saliva and blood to alert us to any illnesses. All of this info will be reflected in our "Med Mirrors"... which will also provide tips for food, vitamins, and exercise customized to us based on the data collected. This information will then shared privately with our family doctor if we need more specialized care. All of this isn't actually all that futuristic: smart scales and smart mirrors have already been invented. I imagine them incorporated into the structure of our homes.
The illustrations are 8" X 10" egg tempera paintings on claybord, which I've also scratched into to create very textured images.
PS......PRINTS ARE AVAILABLE HERE!
about the ourtopia group show and website
The other aspect of this series is that I wanted to invite other artists to contribute. This resulted in a show I co-curated with artist Jane Richlovsky, that took place at The Good Arts Building in Pioneer Square in Downtown Seattle in December of 2019. Ten other artists contributed their visions, and also agreed to have their work featured on a website I created at www.our-topia.com. I'm hoping to invite artists from around the world to contribute to the online version of the show. Go check it out!