Artist Turns Toxic Sludge from Polluted Rivers into Luminous Works of Art

Artist John Sabraw creates colorful and highly textured paintings utilizing pigments made from the toxic sludge found in the Ohio River region. Sabraw collects the toxic, acidic water from streams and rivers that have been heavily contaminated by runoff from coal mines and brings it back to a lab where, with the help of a group of engineers, he creates pigments that can be blended with polymers and resins to make acrylic paints. Sabraw explained to Hyperallergic: “I was struck by the local streams that are largely orange, red, and brown, I found out that these colors were mainly from iron oxide, the same raw materials used to make many paint colors, but this iron oxide was from polluted water from abandoned coal mines. I thought it would be fantastic to use this toxic flow to make paintings rather than with imported iron oxide from China.”

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via [Hyperallergic]