Copyright Dianna Cohen

Copyright Dianna Cohen

I am a painter and an eco-aware artist. After studying Art & Biology at UCLA, my work evolved from painting to a collage based form of “painting” with recycled materials; originally brown paper bags and boxes deconstructed and re-combined lead me to plastic bags cut and sewn like paper and fabric. Through this medium my work attempts to ask questions and to ask the viewer to reconsider cast off materials and when successful, to bring about a shift in consciousness with regards to the value intrinsic within these objects of convenience.

DCohen_01Why did I decide to use the plastic bag as a medium?

Plastic bags are such a loaded material. Plastic refers to and embodies everything from the future and technology, advertising, petroleum and bioplastic products, to the concept of convenience and our throwaway culture. The plastic bags cut and sewn refer to quilts, restoration, maps, banners, flags, gathering, boundaries, tents, shelters, interior design, drapery, kimonos and dresses, and fashion.

The color, opacity, text, printed designs, imagery, and physical qualities of the plastic bags allow me to experiment with combinations that allude to watercolors, oils paintings, quilting, collage, conceptual art, sculpture and installation…. limitless possibilities. Yet, as the Creative Advocacy Director and Co-founder of Plastic Pollution Coalition, I am deeply engaged in raising awareness about the intentional obsolescence designed into these single-use plastic bags and disposable plastic materials.

What responsibility do artists have to engage?

Artists, if they choose to engage, have a responsibility to create and participate in the current dialog, which covers the gamut including art and culture, justice, human rights, ecology, renewable resources and sustainability, corporatization, urbanization, moving back to the land, food sources, farming, politics, ecosystems and the world, and the ocean and planet at large. For this, we create our artwork and frankly, if we don’t raise these ideas, talk about these concepts through our media, and ask questions, who will?


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