This eco-friendly artist transforms waste into landscape paintings | Magnetic Files


Mariah Reading has a confession: Yes, she’s an environmentalist, but she can’t help but cheer up when she stumbles upon some litter on a trail. Over the past four years, Reading, 27, has made trash her muse and medium, painting landscapes on more than 100 pieces of trash she has found while hiking, climbing or paddling in 29 National parks. The results are fanciful but also carry an important message. The Bangor, Maine native grew up with an early appreciation for nature exploring nearby forests and coastlines. As she studied art at Bowdoin College – and saw the vast amounts of waste from her painting and sculpture classes – she began to think seriously about her mark as an artist. “I thought, ‘How can I paint landscapes if I’m hurting them?'” Two weeks before graduating, she changed her thesis and started using trash as a canvas. While teaching and traveling across the country, she also picked up trash to bring to her studio. Since starting the project, she’s traveled about 6,000 miles and painted everything from bug spray in Minnesota to flannel pajama pants she found hanging from a tree in the park. National Acadia of Maine.


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