Plastic Pollution Coalition’s incredible and growing group of Artist Allies are channeling their creativity to inspire positive change on the issue. Together, this diverse group of creators illuminates plastic pollution facts and solutions across a wide range of mediums, from performance pieces to giant sculptures made of discarded plastic stuff.
Let’s explore a few of our Artist Allies’ recent projects that shine a light on the plastic pollution crisis—and the solutions we need to solve this urgent problem.
Alvaro Soler Arpa
Alvaro Soler Arpa (Spain) is an artist who uses his knowledge of anatomy, talent for drawing, and interest in organic forms to express concern for human impact on the planet and its inhabitants. His creations, especially his sculptures made of animal bones, wires, and plastic waste collected in landfills, convey the struggle of survival on a planet plasticized by people. Emphasizing the consequences of mass consumer culture for wildlife and the planet, Soler Arpa honors the struggle of nature to move forward, despite all odds. Creatures from his “Toxic Evolution” series (2011–2016) were recently shown at Himmel Unter Berlin in Germany.
Pam Longobardi (U.S.) is a mixed-media artist who uses plastic recovered from beaches around the world to depict how consumerism is transforming the ocean and planet. In her most recent project, she has catalogued photos of plastic artifacts and testimony from her expeditions and beach combing between 2005 and 2021, with contributions from others who have similarly interacted with plastics on shorelines: Ocean Gleaning (2022).
We are remaking the world in plastic, and many objects found on beaches are hauntingly creaturelike, humanlike, or stonelike—natural, even though they are unnatural pieces of plastic. I do think the ocean is communicating with us through this plastic. The ocean is giving these messages to anyone who wants to pay attention.— Pam Longobardi
Nicole Stott (U.S.) is retired from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and was the first astronaut to paint watercolor in space. She is a veteran of two space flights, logging 104 days living and working aboard both the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. Witnessing the beauty of the world from the perspective of space is something Nicole wishes to share to motivate people to appreciate and care for our planet. She is a founding member of the Space for Art Foundation which works to inspire children experiencing personal and planetary challenges to imagine and create a positive future for themselves through art.
My hope is that we can all embrace we are crew, not passengers, here on Spaceship Earth.— Nicole Stott
Tomfoolery (UK) is a poet and filmmaker who uses spoken word and visual storytelling to create captivating viral videos about real-world issues. Recently, he partnered with Plastic Pollution Coalition to create The Plastic Age, the story of humanity’s relationship with plastic, from extraction of its fossil fuel ingredients, to production, disposal, and pollution in the environment and our bodies. Tomfoolery also highlights the solutions we need to solve it—and offers encouragement as we forge ahead.
Benjamin Von Wong
Benjamin Von Wong (Canada) creates visually stunning, monumental mixed-media sculptures designed to arrest the attention of viewers. He is well known for his creations “Turn off the Plastic Tap” and “Skull of Satoshi,” which bring attention to the dangers of continued plastics production and bitcoin mining’s climate impacts. Ahead of the second negotiating session of the UN Plastics Treaty (INC-2), held in Paris, France, in May, Von Wong created a 15-foot “Perpetual Plastic Machine,” commissioned by Greenpeace, to communicate “the toxic relationship between fossil fuels and plastic production.” Von Wong illuminated his piece with fire to help further connect the dots between fossil fuels and plastic pollution—and the fact that real solutions go beyond simply cleaning up, recycling, or incinerating (burning).