Zaria Artist American Resilience

Artist Makes Visceral Arctic Paintings to Show Effects of Climate Change

As temperatures rise, the sublime is what we stand to lose.

Watching icebergs begin to drip and melt away is both a global and personal sadness for painter Zaria Forman. Her mother was a renowned photographer who was deeply drawn to photographing the Arctic. As young Forman remembers, her mother would stay outside taking photographs and smiling, long after the rest of the family’s toes had gone numb.

When her mother passed away in 2011, just six months before they were supposed to travel to Greenland together, Forman made the trip alone to spread her mother’s ashes there.

She knows it’s hard for people to truly understand the weight of losing a place that they’ve never seen before, so she brings these places to them. Her artistic career is now dedicated to painting beautiful and sublime scenes of landscapes that are in danger of disappearing. She believes artists carry a critical role in social and environmental change, a responsibility she doesn’t take lightly.

 

Zaria Forman painting to show Climate Change
Zaria Forman painting

 

“One of the many gifts my mom gave me was to focus on the positive rather than the negative,” Forman said in a recent TED Talk she gave. “My drawings celebrate the beauty of what we all stand to lose.”

Working mostly with soft pastels on canvas, each piece takes around 200 hours to complete. She paints waves crashing on the shore of the Maldives – a South Asian island country that may be underwater within the century – and magnificent, big icebergs in Greenland.

Through these large, lifelike, and visually arresting pieces she hopes viewers will grow true emotional bonds to these landscapes and in turn will make real moves to preserve them.

 

Climate Change of Glasiar
Whale Bay, by Zaria Forman

 

“I felt the power and the fragility of the landscape. The sheer size of the icebergs is humbling. The ice fields are alive with movement and sound in a way I never expected. I expanded the scale of my compositions to give you the same sense of awe that I experienced,” Forman said in the TED Talk.

“Yet while grandeur of the ice is evident, so too is its vulnerability. From our boat, I could see the ice sweating under the unseasonably warm sun.”

While the swiftly changing landscapes can be paralyzing to see, Forman insists we remain positive—appreciate the beauty we still have and celebrate the achievements we’ve made.

“It is still possible to do something to protect this Earth that sustains us,” she says.

Feature image: Brian Pineda
JP Sears American Resilience

JP Sears: Comedy and Sincerity Go Hand in Hand

Making fun of yourself can be the opening to truly understanding yourself.

You may have stumbled across JP Sears’ comedy videos taking loving pokes at ‘New Age’ lifestyles. He’s a Youtube sensation who first caught the eye of folks online in 2013. Now, with more than 600k subscribers, he makes fun of everything from the essential oil fad, gluten intolerance, astrology, and Bitcoin.

His jokes are good—sometimes too good—and make us question ourselves a bit. That is exactly his point, these jokes roast himself too. Humor keeps us humble, it is the opening of a new conversation stripped of ego.

After dropping out of college, Sears began studying holistic cultures at age 18, going on to become a life coach. After gaining recognition as someone with an acute sense of humor, he went on to write a book called How to be Ultra Spiritual – “a 12 1/2 Step Guide to Spiritual Superiority”.

 

 

“I needed it for self-therapy because so much of the New Age culture and New Age practices are a part of my life and a very beneficial part of my life, yet there’s another side to the beneficial coin for everything,” Sears told the Charleston City Newspaper.

“I was finding myself having egotistical agendas and judgments hiding within my new age and spiritual practices. The videos and the book [How to be Ultra Spiritual] became a way for me to shine the light of awareness on the shadow side of me.”

Sears compares his humor and sincerity with his left hand and right hand—both are different and don’t work quite as well alone.

Feature photo: Jonathan Boncek / Scott Suchy

Rise Up

More from American Resilience

American Resilience

Toni Stone, First Female to Take on Professional Baseball

Marcenia Lyle “Toni” Stone grew up playing baseball with the neighborhood kids, quickly earning the nickname Tomboy Stone. She was the first girl to land a position in the St. Peter Claver Catholic Church boys' baseball team and went on to become the first of three women to become professional baseball players. In 1953, Stone signed with the professional 'Negro…

American Resilience

Daughter of Black Panther Destroys FBI Files

Sadie Barnette maybe can’t spin straw into gold, be she did turn the documents the FBI had on her Black Panther dad into a rhinestone-clad work of art. It’s called ‘Do Not Destroy’. Talk about reclaiming identity. Her father was Rodney Barnette, a Black Panther and community advocate. After returning from the Vietnam War he was shocked with the injustice…

American Resilience

Dorothy Day: Peace & Anarchy

Dorothy Day held a terminal belief that no matter one’s politics or religion, they should always be built around empathy and compassion. Pretty much from the get-go this was how she lived her 83 years. Born in 1897, her curious and happily rebellious streak first took the form of civil disobedience in her teens. She hung around the socialist and…

American Resilience

3 B-Corps Making Buyer's Remorse a Thing of the Past

B Corps, for the uninitiated, are essentially for-profit companies certified to have met comprehensive standards of social and environmental criteria, accountability, and transparency. These businesses are collective effort to make voting with your dollar a little easier and more effective. Here are a few B Corps we want to make sure you know about:   • Alaska Glacial Mud Co. Before founding Alaskan…

Sign Up to Rise Up

Get the latest news in your inbox