About Climate Action Art Mobilization Project

I’ve been working on a big shift in focus in my art efforts. I’ve decided I'm no longer going to be making paintings as my primary focus, at least for the foreseeable future, and instead I’m going to be focusing on art that is useful in dealing with the climate emergency that we now find ourselves in.

The short version of why I’m doing this is that the best data and analysis that we have says that we are in a climate emergency, that we are rapidly running out of time and that we need to make massive changes, and make them rapidly. I’ve decided to use my art skills, and the time that I normally have set aside for painting, to make art that helps people take climate action. I’m not entirely sure what form this new project is going to take, but I have come to the conclusion that making paintings is not an effective art form for generating the activist momentum that we need.

I do think that the most likely outcomes are going to involve some form of storytelling, so comics and illustrations that tell stories are probably going to be key elements of this project.

The road blocks humanity is facing are no longer technological or financial, as we have the technology, and we have the money. At least the developed world has the money. The main road blocks we’re facing are political and psychological.
The fossil fuel industries have been running a successful campaign of fear, disinformation, and doubt for decades now, paralyzing whole populations so thoroughly that humanity is now desperately running out of time to prevent climate catastrophe and the destruction of large parts of human civilization.

This is one reason why I’m making this change: because I believe focused art efforts can combat the fear and disinformation, and help people to politically mobilize. It’s too late for ‘art for art’s sake’, art must join in this fight, or else it is just fiddling while the world burns. Allied governments during World War II put a lot of effort and money into morale boosting propaganda efforts, because they realized this was critical to their war efforts, and I think a similar effort is needed now.

How this effort is going to take shape, I’m not entirely sure, but I'm pretty sure it's going to involve story telling through graphic and visual means. Storytelling that people can relate to is the probably the best way to encourage people to take action, rather than preaching at them to be better. (Incidentally, that's one of the things the fossil fuel industry has successfully done: they've paralyzed people with guilt so they blame themselves about their own personal choices, rather than blaming the fossil fuel industries who have led us into this mess in the first place.)

So I’m currently working on a website for comics, posters and other morale boosting art. There is a lot of art that examines how much of a catastrophe we're headed for, but that art is only going to spur action obliquely. Yes, the fear is real, but we need morale boosting and support too. We need to see ourselves in the stories about overcoming our fear and doing something. I'm maybe not teh best story teller, so I'm going to be looking for help with this project. I’d really like for it to be a collaborative effort, so once I'm set up in Indonesia, and I have a website and project more refined, I'll be reaching out to everyone I can think of.

My first attempt at a comic, as I kind of prototype of what I'm thinking of, after a break of many years, is here: Hey Dad.

I’ll keep updating my email list with news about how it’s going, so stay subscribed if you want to keep up to date.

On a final note, I’m going to be moving to Indonesia with my family for the next 3 years. I’ll still be able to work digitally there, so it shouldn’t affect my climate art efforts. That being said, I probably won’t be able to post much over the next few months, but hopefully I’ll remember to post to my instagram often enough.

I will probably add some new social media accounts just for these art efforts, but I haven’t yet. I’ll send out more emails as the work progresses.
Thanks for reading,
Marcel Guldemond
Ottawa, Ontario, June 2019.