Earth Art: 10 Facts You Need to Know

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Earth art is the modern concept of putting images of natural elements on your walls. This idea has increased in popularity for many reasons.

The first earth artists were the earliest humans, who learned to make colored muds by mixing powdered minerals with animal blood.

They painted their bodies and probably their homes. They covered dead bodies with red ochre. They painted on cave walls. They buried their dead in graves with shell jewelry, which was probably painted.

The oldest human art is not figurative but decorative. The purpose of decoration is to attract attention, show off an animal or a person, or show that you can do something others can’t. For example, elands are more impressive if they have black-and-white stripes instead of brown ones, so painting them black-and-white makes them look bigger and faster. But it also advertises that your tribe can see that pattern instead of just brown fur.

This early art was not primarily about what the artist felt or saw; it was about communicating information about the world and about the artist’s ability to understand it. It was not primarily visual but perceptual: what you see depends on how sensitive your senses are, how well you can filter out confusing stimuli, how much mental training you’ve had, and what kind of brain you have. This is still true today.

An example of putting images of natural elements in art

On the one hand, it is possible that earth art is just a fad, and will disappear without leaving any trace. On the other hand, some of it has already become part of our cultural heritage, and has an importance that its creators could not have foreseen.

And even if the tradition dies out, there are still things to be learned from it. Earth art is an example of putting images of natural elements in art. It was pioneered by artists who were also scientists, but it has had more influence on artists than on scientists. And its influence on art has been primarily to make forms more natural-looking.

Earth art, the kind that turns hills into giant peace symbols or arranges boulders to look like animals, is an example of art that uses images of natural elements. This may be the oldest kind of art there is. It is also one of the most common. If you want to make a work of art, gathering some rocks and putting them on a hillside is a good way to do it. It doesn’t require talent or training. It’s not hard to find rocks that look like something. The only limit is your imagination and the features of the landscape around you.

All earth art is imitative, but not all imitative art is earth art. I’m thinking here of a painting by Vermeer, a ballet by Balanchine, a symphony by Haydn, or a novel by Dickens. All these things show us the world, but they don’t use images of natural elements. They use abstractions: musical sounds instead of bird songs, words instead of trees and flowers, shapes instead of clouds and smoke and waterfalls.

Many people today create images of natural elements in art. Some of them are very good.

The best ones, however, are different from anything you have seen before. The best ones make the natural things look more real, not less. They make you feel that you were wrong to think that a branch was just a branch or a pebble just a pebble. They make you see the branch and the pebble as something new, beautiful, and possibly alive.

The best earth-art images are also beautiful in their own right. They are often pleasing and sometimes weird and sometimes mysterious and sometimes all of those things together.

There is no single standard for good earth art. Whatever it looks like, if it’s good it makes you feel like looking at it forever.

Why use natural elements

Is it worth the effort to use natural elements in art?

The appeal of such materials is obvious. Natural things are valuable in themselves; when they turn out to be valuable in art, too, you get a bonus. 

If you create a piece of art that can’t exist without a certain tree or rock or leaf, then when that tree or rock or leaf is destroyed, your work dies with it. This seems like a small thing, but it’s not; it’s an important part of what we mean by “creating.”

When we create something new, we usually do so by rearranging some familiar things in a new pattern. That’s true even if we’re doing “abstract” art: it’s still circles and lines and colors put together in unfamiliar ways. 

But if the new arrangement was made with valuable art materials—gold and diamonds, say—then the new thing itself becomes valuable too. That doesn’t just mean that people will pay more for it than they otherwise would have; that’s just ordinary commerce. It means that people who might not have cared about the idea behind your work will still grieve when they learn that someone has destroyed it.

I think the reason artists use natural elements is that they are an honest medium. If you are trying to tell a story, the medium must be absolutely honest. If you are trying to tell a story with bronze or marble or film or pixels or ink, there is no way it can be perfectly honest. 

The materials themselves will influence your art, so that it becomes not an expression of your vision but an expression of the properties of bronze or marble or pixels.

But if you are working with stone or wood or water, then whatever you say is exactly what you mean. That is why earth art tends to be more interesting than other kinds. It is more honest.

Have fun creating something beautiful

Earth art is not just an object. It is a process, involving all kinds of people in all kinds of places. If you are involved in creating earth art, that means you are part of that process. Some people think that earth art is primarily an aesthetic experience.

Weird, isn’t it? The idea that something can be both an object to look at and also a social process seems strange. I once saw someone looking at one of the land art pieces near my house. As he walked around it, he was looking mostly at his feet, which meant he paid no attention to the piece itself. I asked him if he liked it. He said he did; he thought it was beautiful. But what did he like about it? It’s hard to say; it’s just beautiful. When I asked him if that made sense, he said, “Well, it just does.”

I think that is kind of what earth art is like for most people who come across it: beautiful but mainly not quite understandable why. If you want to be part of making earth art, you have to inherit the legacy of the earth artists who came before you and build on their example by creating your own piece of earth art — or maybe even several pieces.

Make nature your palette.

Nothing in nature is truly random. The patterns that emerge from chaos are too good, too complex, to have just happened. They are the product of a process called emergence, in which more straightforward rules produce detailed results.

Fractal patterns are common in nature. A fractal is a pattern whose complexity goes up with scale. It’s like an Escher drawing, where you can zoom in forever and the picture remains infinite in detail.

Nature’s fractals are self-similar across different scales; the branches of a tree resemble the branches of other trees or even the components of rivers, or clouds in the night sky. Nature’s fractals also contain simplicity within complexity; they tend to include smaller versions of themselves (like snowflakes having smaller but identical snowflakes). And this complexity-within-simplicity is present at every scale; there is no limit to how small or large you can go.

Get in nature

It’s hard to make an impression on the natural world. The earth is big, and you are small. You can’t make a mountain move, stop a river from flowing, or make the sunrise in the east instead of the west. Even when you are in command of technology that is far more powerful than any natural phenomenon, in some ways this makes it harder to leave your mark. 

For example, to carve something into Mount Rushmore, you can’t just wait for erosion to take its course; you have to build scaffolding, drill holes, and blast through solid rock.

The people who do get their names on the landscape, though, whether Crazy Horse or Michelangelo, get there by thinking big. Big projects get attention.

Get in the groove with earth art

When you think about it, art is all around us. Look at the trees in your neighborhood. Or the cars on the highway. Or the buildings downtown. They are all beautiful in their own way, if you know how to look at them right.

Have you ever thought about putting on a show of your own? No? Well it’s not too late. You can still get in on the ground floor of a hot new movement And think of all the free publicity you will get!

Earth art is the name of this exciting new movement in art. According to its manifesto, it is “planned, executed, and experienced directly from within the earth by participants in contact with it.” It may seem strange to have to explain that, but some people just don’t get it. How can earth be art? It’s just dirt!

The point is that you are experiencing something inside of your body while doing Earth Art. That is why Earth Art is so innovative and powerful – more powerful than any other kind of art!

It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Asking whether earth art is art might be like asking whether the universe is really made of atoms. Earth art is not “earth” on the same level as lakes or clouds or rocks are earth, but it’s on the same level on which rainbows and snowflakes are rainbows and snowflakes. It’s more like a cloud than like a cloud of atoms, but it’s still pretty much of a cloud.

This can seem like an evasion, or like I am trying to get away with something. But that’s not my intention–I am trying to get away with things like making art itself, rather than simply earth art.

Even if you hold it in your hand, looking at an earth sculpture is different from looking at something else in nature. The difference isn’t obvious; often it’s hard to see how the thing was made–but unless you are actually holding the sculpture, that may be only because you don’t know how to look at it.

When you look at a beautiful natural landscape, you are looking in one direction for something interesting in another direction. Artworks sit there in all directions–and they’re not just sitting there but they’re moving. They are moving because they are alive because they are growing.

What are the advantages of using earth art photography over regular photography?

Earth art photography is a form of art that uses the beauty of nature as a subject. Earth art photographs may depict landscapes, wildlife, plants and flowers, and sometimes man-made structures in a natural setting. The purpose of earth art photography is to capture a moment in time to express the photographer’s feelings about nature.

The main difference between earth art photography and regular photography is that when taking an earth art photo, you want the viewer to be able to see something in your image that is not visible to the naked eye. So you will often add some kind of special effect to your image after you take it. You can do this with digital editing or with chemicals in a dark room.

Why would you use earth art photography over regular photography? For one thing, if you use special effects in your images, they will stand out from the crowd more. Also, it’s a good way for photographers who are serious about preserving nature to make money selling their photographs.

What are the disadvantages of using earth art photography over regular photography?

Earth art photography has become increasingly popular all over the world. For many people who are passionate about art, it is an exciting experience to see the results of some outstanding earth art photographs. Some would even say that photographing earth art is more challenging than photographing regular photography. Nevertheless, there are some disadvantages to taking earth art photos.

Light

Without light, you can’t take a photo. Light creates shadows and highlights on objects which makes for better photographs. However, it can be hard to get great shots when you use earth art photography because of the lack of light on the object itself.

This happens because when taking earth art photos, the photographer has to shoot in low lighting conditions most of the time.

When taking regular photography, photographers have different ways of dealing with lighting problems that may arise. For example, they may use flash or set up lights to bring out details that might not have otherwise been visible in their photos. However, these techniques cannot be used when taking earth art photos since they would ruin the quality of the photo by adding unnatural effects to it.

Photography Equipment

Some say that using regular photography equipment is easier than using equipment specifically designed for earth art shooting. Many would argue that using regular photography equipment is much cheaper than using earth art photographs.

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