Monday, April 28, 2008

Socially Responsible Art Products

As part of my on going exploration of earth friendly art materials, I looked into Golden Artist Colors. I use Golden products for my acrylic paintings, including paints and mediums, as well as for varnishing all my pieces. I like the quality and consistency of their products. But, with my new mission, whether I like a product or not isn't enough of a factor to keep me using the product. The company has to offer more.

I went to the Golden website and found an extensive section on social responsibility . That section describes such "green" initiatives as the Seconds Program, explained on the site:

GOLDEN has an overall "green" attitude; everything that we are striving for as far as our formulations are concerned is geared toward environmental friendliness. This includes the ingredients that go in our paints, the wastewater we generate making our paints as well as cleaning out equipment, and any waste we may generate in between or after that process goes to good use in our Seconds Program. The Seconds Program is a way for GOLDEN to support artists and keep product out of the waste stream. Employees, along with local and artist communities, are offered products from the "Seconds Program." The Seconds Program offers paint that does not meet GOLDEN standards at little or no cost to artists or non-profit organizations that can greatly benefit from the program.
Golden produces a newsletter titled "Just Paint", and in issue #18, there is an article that explains the company's new water reclamation process. Water is a necessary component not only for the artist to use paint, but also in the manufacturing of paint. Golden has installed a Reverse Osmosis (RO) filtering system that reuses over two-thirds of the water used to clean production equipment. They also utilize RO in a wastewater treatment process that filters out the solids of acrylic, pigments and other materials from the water. That water is then sent to a city treatment plant where the remaining chemicals are removed. Please see the newsletter for the complete explanation of the RO process.

Additionally, the website has extensive instructions for artists about how to reduce waste of materials and how to dispose of waste materials in an environmentally sound way. To fellow artists, please do check this section out. Even if you don't use Golden materials, many of the suggestions are applicable to other mediums. I use some of the cleaning techniques recommended by Golden in my studio, but will begin practicing even more waste-reducing techniques.

I wrote to the company inquiring about the possibility of Golden producing a line of colored inks. I received a prompt and friendly reply indicating that their line of Airbrush Colors are essentially inks. I was sent a packet of informational materials on Golden products, newsletters and hand painted color swatches of many of their paints. I have since purchased some samples of the Airbrush colors and will experiment with them to see how they work in comparison to the inks I currently use.

Because of Golden's commitment to social and environmental responsibility, I am happy to continue to include their products to produce my art work.

I am still waiting to hear back from other companies I have been using, if I don't hear back in another week, I will send out one more inquiry. If I do not receive a response after the second inquiry, I will write a letter explaining that I will no longer use their products until I have heard from them regarding their environmental policies.

I will keep you updated!


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