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Having A Minimal Waste Art Practice: A Conversation with Nicole Young

Something that has been on my mind lately in the studio is the amount of waste the creating art can make.

Not only is this an issue for the environment, but it can be an issue for our creative flow, as well. When we know that our art practice is potentially harmful to the planet (even on a subconscious level), we can feel that in our creative practice.

I know for me, it can even stop me from experimenting and creating as much as I might like. It can feel wasteful if I don't plan on selling it.

This realization has hit me even harder in the past year as I've realized-- hey, I'm a business.

Just as I want to buy from businesses with Earth-friendly practices, I want to be doing the same in my own work and in my own business.

Whether making art is a hobby or full time job for you I'm guessing you've felt this of this on some level, too.

Which is why I reached out to Nicole Young, a fellow artist I love following who lives a minimal waste lifestyle, to talk about how we might go about making our art practice a bit more waste conscious.

For a little background on Nicole, she's an artist living and working in the Okanagan. You'll find Nicole between the trees, lakes, and mountains of the Okanagan Valley, creating. She'll be painting, drawing, hand writing calligraphy, or talking about creativity as the driving force in her life.

Nicole moved to California to study fine arts and art history at UCLA, and returned to Kelowna in 2014, where she finished her BFA in painting and art history at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. She uses her observations from travel and of people as an influence to develop unique color schemes and material choices. Her work focuses on the documentation of people and moments: her breathless heart in the wild abandon of Iceland, the rocks and sand below her feet on a beach, or the sound of a rare summer rainstorm against a skylight in Kelowna.

Nicole works primarily with acrylic paint, chalk pastels, and textiles, but some non-traditional moments should be remembered in non-traditional materials. In her next project, Nicole will develop a series exploring her passion for the environment and sustainability.

You can connect more with Nicole on Instagram @nicoleyoungart and online at

I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did!

Feeling inspired to start incorporating some waste-conscious practices in your art studio?

Inspired by this conversation with Nicole, I created an organized checklist of a few ways to get started!

This PDF lays out the minimal waste tips that Nicole talked about, as well as some other environmentally friendly ideas to bring to your studio.​

This is a great resource list to keep handy in your creative space!

Want even more on this topic? I also recommend checking out Nicole's recent blog post on her top five tips for reducing art waste!

Do you have any tips for being waste-conscious in your own art practice? Or resources that could be useful in this department? Leave a comment below! I'd love to hear what other artists are doing about this!

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