From the Artist’s Perspective: Connected Lands. Connected People.

The Climate Science Alliance, in partnership with the Connecting Wildlands & Communities (CWC) Team at San Diego State University, was excited to host Kim Reasor as our 2020 Climate Art Fellow. Kim has worked with the team since June of last year to visualize the major take homes of this project for a public audience. In this final edition of “From the Artist’s Perspective,” witness the unveiling of the final pieces and hear from Kim on her reflections on the artistic process.



The Climate Science Alliance, in partnership with the Connecting Wildlands & Communities (CWC) Team at San Diego State University, was excited to host Kim Reasor as our 2020 Climate Art Fellow. Kim has worked with the team since June of last year to visualize the major take homes of this project for a public audience. In this final edition of “From the Artist’s Perspective,” witness the unveiling of the final pieces and hear from Kim on her reflections on the artistic process.

 

The Journey to Connecting Wildlands and Communities


When I was awarded the CSA Climate Art Fellowship last June, it could not have come at a better time for me creatively. I was known for my oil paintings of urban and industrial landscapes, and had recently been expanding my horizons to include science-informed art. I had taken a few courses in topics such as Geospatial Information Systems (GIS), data visualization, and environmental hydrology. I had done a couple of collaborative art-science projects, involving snow microbiology in the Finnish Arctic and the loss of sea ice in Utqiagvik, Alaska. The idea of doing art that would communicate ecological issues in my home, San Diego County (as well as other parts of Southern California), in collaboration with the Climate Science Alliance, was a dream come true.


Winner Takes All, ©Kim Reasor 2020 oil on canvas, 36” x 48”


Making art has always been a big part of who I am. I grew up in Colorado and spent a decent amount of time in the mountains. After moving to San Diego in 2003, I began a series of industrial landscape paintings that grappled with my unease over the destruction of nature and our consumer-oriented culture. I started to think about how to express the urban/nature conflict more directly in my art.


In 2016, I accompanied my husband on his sabbatical to Finland. It turned out to be a sabbatical for me as well, as I got to live in a small village surrounded by trees and lakes and was able to try my hand at science-informed art for the first time, courtesy of an art residency at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station in Sápmi. This collaboration served as a bootcamp for both of us, as we struggled to communicate about my husband’s science and how to depict it in my art. In the end, after a lot of back-and-forth, we arrived at a visual expression of his data that we were both happy with. When we returned to San Diego, I enrolled in the courses mentioned above. The cartography and data visualization courses were especially helpful for me. The tricky part would be how to go about incorporating this type of information into my art, specifically paintings.



Then, in October 2018, the IPCC report on climate change came out and changed everything. Only twelve years left to stop it from becoming unimaginably bad. Climate change was not a horrible but comfortably vague threat that was still decades off. It was here—the Anthropocene.