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Animal Products & Art Prints.

All 05 November 2016

Animal Products & Art Prints

WTF is Vegan Paper? 

However you look at it Veganism is the fastest growing lifestyle movement across the globe, and the UK is at the forefront of this cruelty-free revolution.  In fact, the number of Brits following a plant-based diet has increased 360% during the last decade alone… As retailers seek to satisfy these new demands from their clientele, it’s no longer a surprise to see supermarkets filled with almond milk, fake cheese as well as an array of other vegan alternatives.  

Harnessing the power of social media, more and more people from all walks of life are making positive choices to actualise radical changes and challenge historic misconceptions. But this is more than a #Trend; it’s a paradigm shift.  After all, beyond Linda McCartney sausage rolls and hummus, the movement’s philosophy incorporates eradicating the use of animal products from all avenues of life. From fashion to furniture, our society is sadly still too dependent on the exploitation of other species to prop up our own way of living.

That said, promising changes are afoot as showcased by the EU banning the sale of cosmetics developed through animal testing. Elsewhere, innovative designers are advancing the cause with the rise of pineapple leather and other sustainable substitutes.  Ultimately, veganism is not about abstinence, but rather liberation. Liberation of the animals who have just as much of a right to live as we do and also liberation in knowing that our impact on the planet is being minimised.   

Said principles are epitomised by Hahnemühle, with the German paper manufacturer providing vegan certified bamboo paper.  Whilst the paper industry may not seem like an immediately obvious sector in terms of using animal products, the majority of producers use gelatins to size the paper and improve water resistance.  Not only are bamboo fibres naturally resistant, but they eliminate the need to rely on unsustainable sources of wood as typically a great loss of flora and fauna is the result of unplanned mass deforestation.  Trees take up to three decades to be replaced in contrast to bamboo which can be re-harvested after a few years without the need to plant seeds again. 

Artists can now express themselves with a guilt-free conscience whereas previously the use of animal products was inevitable in the creative domain.  Traditionally, certain inks and pigments have been made using insect resins or bone charcoal. Nowadays however, vegan replacements ensure that these can easily be avoided, allowing designers to manifest their ideas without compromising their vision. 

It’s often said that art mimics life (and vice versa!), therefore shouldn’t a fundamental aspect of art be a promotion of life in lieu of destruction?  Protecting and maintaining the vitality of planet Earth is not a chore or a duty, instead the very beauty of nature should be enough to convince us that there’s something worth saving. Staring at a beautiful painting provokes similar feelings as witnessing a great sunset or a stunning landscape;  regardless of whether it’s the ocean or a canvas,  for a moment you’re lost in the grandeur of something bigger than yourself. Peaceful, untouched and pure- just how it’s supposed to be.