Ripples in the Water: The Experience of an Environmental Artist

By Hayley Kirkman, EC Artist & Graphic Designer

Taking on a graphic design internship with the Environmental Center was one of the most important decisions of my college career. Not only am I growing personally and professionally in the design realm, but I am learning how to contribute to society and protect our planet.

When you walk into the EC, you instantly feel a vibrant motility from our atmosphere. That vibrancy is attributed to the plants distributed throughout the office, the chipper-ness of the students and staff, and the sunbeams filtering through the neon cube-people I painted on the windows. The energy is always undeniably positive in this space.

Every person that works or volunteers in the EC is passionate and caring. This is not an overstatement. I have yet to meet anyone here who doesn’t possess a genuine eagerness to help the world. We are a diverse team culminating together to bring social and environmental change. Some of us are gardeners. Some are advocates for real and healthy food. Some are energy-savers. Some are recyclers. And some are artists.

I have recently come to the realization that I want to use art to fight for what’s right. I have the ability to convey important messages through imagery, and with that comes a huge responsibility. Through the EC I am learning what it takes to become a thoughtful, environmentally-conscious citizen, and I am relaying those teachings to others. Although my part as a designer here is small, the action is large in scope.

Last semester, I worked on branding the 15th Annual Reel Film Experience and the EC’s 25th Birthday Celebration. I had never branded an event that huge before – it was attended by hundreds of people. The big, green and black Reel collateral I had fussed with for months were suddenly strewn about all over the town in the forms of posters, advertisements and digital media icons; I was elated.

Towards the end of the semester, I decided to hop off the computer and get my hands on some paint. In response to the situation at Standing Rock, I decided to paint people of all different “colors” uniting together in a body of water on the EC windows. From the outside looking in, you are faced with the question, “What do you stand for?” The EC community doesn’t stand for injustice or the destruction of Earth’s valuable resources, and I’m grateful to have been chosen to reflect that in a public space.

This semester, there are a few upcoming events requiring inspiring posters/promotional materials from me. I am also excited to say that the EC may be in the works of getting a “brand rejuvenation”. I can’t divulge any more information, but I can promise that our organization will only continue to grow stronger and more prevalent in the eyes of our community.

There you have it. I am just an ordinary person trying enrich the community and protect the environment in the ways I am able. And you have this ability, too. As Jane Goodall once said, “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

One thought on “Ripples in the Water: The Experience of an Environmental Artist

  1. This is a very interesting approach and a good attitude you have there. Thanks a lot for sharing!


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