Growing Consumerism

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Issue 272
May/June 2012
Catalysts For Change

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Growing Consumerism

issue cover 272

Cover: Photo: Variables, Patterns 2010 by Steve McPherson

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Artist Tracey Bush explains her Nine Wild Plants project.

The Little Clod of Earth by Tracey Bush. Photo: Neil Reddy

The Little Clod of Earth by Tracey Bush. Photo: Neil Reddy

My work has often dealt with the impact that humans have on the environment. This project was inspired by ecological thinker Paul Hawken, who noted that the average Western adult can recognise over 1000 brand names or logos, but fewer than ten local, indigenous plants.

Posing the question: 'Which nine wild plants could you confidently identify?' I began collecting responses and drawing the plants highlighted, combining this data and visual information in unique drawings, sculptures and bookworks which formed the basis of the project.

What resulted was a collection of nine extraordinary, hand crafted ‘wild plants’. Constructed from recycled packaging, collected from the streets of London, the delicate leaves and stalks of the poppy, buttercup and stinging nettle were crafted from hundreds of brands and logos. Bright colours and anthropomorphic cartoon characters combine with the precision of carefully observed botanical constructions, emphasising the deeply embedded brand-awareness within our culture.

These curious ‘wild plants’ highlight our diminishing knowledge of indigenous flora and fauna whilst encouraging us consider our ‘growing’ excess of consumerism.

The Nine Wild Plants project features in the May/June issue of Resurgence magazine. For more images of the project and artworks, visit:

Tracey Bush is an artist. Her recent solo exhibition Nine Wild Plants was funded by the Arts Council.

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