Art Raises Awareness about the Environment
Imagine artists across all of Palo Alto's Sister Cities sharing an image of sustainability. Imagine sharing that image across all of our Sister Cities: A blended view of the environment and sustainability. Inspired by art as we, together as Sister Cities, confront the challenges of climate.
Neighbors Abroad is pleased to introduce our artists, and the sustainability projects they are engaged with. At this time we have earned commitments from artists in Oaxaca, Mexico, Palo Alto, California, and Heidelberg, Germany. We anticipate having artists from are Sister and Sibling cities.
The inspiration for this project comes from Neighbors Abroad's rainwater capture project in Yaxe, Oaxaca, Mexico. We learned that incorporating culture into an environmental project both heightens awareness and brings excitement. In Yaxe, the project's art will be discovered across the 50 water tanks installed in the village.
Originally from Oaxaca de Juárez Oaxaca. His passion for painting began drawing at the age of 6, discovering the shapes in his environment and representing them on paper. An architect by profession, he now recreates images and memories of his childhood such as machines, vessels, pots, animals, bulls and characters of his own inspiration, and ancient legends that have marked his life, and captures them in works of art that integrate fables as well as in the finishes and texturing of the new and old walls of his works in the encaustic technique, oil and acrylic, inks, using a palette of intense ranges that overflow the color leaving a mark on each of his works along the way of the art, his works are throughout the country as well as in the American union to tour the workshops of the house of Oaxacan culture and the Rufino Tamayo workshop, group exhibitions, in museums, group exhibition at the house of Oaxacan culture.
Sustainability Project: Rainwater Capture in Yaxe, Mexico
Porfirio's work celebrates rainwater capture in Yaxe, Mexico. Yaxe lacks water, but has high seasonal rainwater. This is a common circumstance in Mexico. Working with Isla Urbana, Vidas y Sueños, and Neighbors Abroad as well as other charitable organizations, Yaxe has 50 rainwater capture systems supporting the community, but also demonstrating to the state of Oaxaca an innovative and economic approach to addressing a basic need.
Palo Alto, California
“Somewhere in my life I was bound to art. As a kid, I was bored: no TV, no video games… only books and pencils kept me occupied on long, family trips traversing the California wilderness. This gap between earth and civilization has always inspired my work.
For me, art reaches deep into the Unknown; where awe and beauty dismantle my own solicited ambitions. My cartoonish abstractions and figures layer upon one another to create discoverable symbolism. I draw references from ancient myths and popular culture in an attempt to reconcile the disparate aspects of our nature.
Public works and murals are our chance to face history- to be remembered. My hope is to transform our concrete into color and to elicit in each of us the desire for the epiphytic in an already deciphered world. ”
- Lorenz, 2021
Born 1991, Lorenz studied and pursued art abroad in Berlin, Germany. Since 2016, he has been based in Palo Alto, California, working as an artist, illustrator, and muralist. Lorenz typically works with ink and paper, or acrylic and canvas.
Sustainability Project: Green Infrastructure, Palo Alto
Allowing rainwater to replenish our aquifers, rather than being lost to our storm drains, is the sustainability goal pursued in this collaboration.
Giuseppe Blasotta (right) with Palo Alto Mayor Tom Dubois in Heidelberg, Germany
With my work I did not try to imitate products of nature, but to act like the producing nature itself, by creating new forms from the given materials. Like natural objects, my depictions of flowers and landscapes do not need any translation or explanations, but at the same time every work by an author refers to the story of the author himself. These roots in the author's history are, so to speak, the second nature of the work of art. The content that is expressed in an otherwise lifeless object can be of the most varied types, but it always refers to its human origin and thus concerns us all. The unity of the work and the processes of creativity of art don’t come from the materials of the work, but from its history.
And precisely because of this, through the necessary anchoring in a concrete, individual life process – which is based on nature and history – the work of art is able to build bridges between people. This is due to its nature alone, i.e. even if it art does not explicitly address communication and the forming of a common consciousness.
The continuity of the history with nature is also expressed in architecture and portraits in my paintings, because there is no break between the main motif (a building or a portrait) of the representation and the background. Not only on the level of the colors, but also through the lines, the main motif fades into the background as if there were no rigid boundaries between, for example, people and their environment”
“I allow myself a few more words about my art and precisely regarding the paintings I chose for the Sister City Sustainability Art Project: Artistic representations of nature, e.g. in the form of flowers and landscapes point to nature, but at the same time they are not natural products, but artifacts. As such, they already show the continuity between nature and history. That the visual arts use natural materials, be it water, oil and minerals or rare earths (for digital art) and the like shows the roots of human creativity in the material soil of the natural elements (e.g. light or marble).
Water is Right. The Heidelberg Palo Alto Club brings Water is Right as the associated sustainability project. Everybody needs clean drinking water every day. The water is Right Foundation supports equitable and affordable distribution of water. The foundation provides innovative water treatment plants for communities lacking accessible clean water, creates jobs, and organizes cleanups.