Ian Robertson-Salt’s Prismatic Paintings Explore Working Class Climate Anxiety
Editor’s note: an earlier version of this post ran in 2022. We’re publishing this update in honor of our 2023 exhibition, Art and the Environment, which explores contemporary issues involving climate change, invasive species, and increasingly fragile ecosystems.
It’s easy to complain about the morning commute to work, but we often overlook the road it took to get us there in the first place. In his latest series, Nine to Five, Ian Robertson-Salt, who also goes by the pseudonym Anthroe, explores the relationship between society and the natural environment through the eyes of LA’s working class.
“Growing up in Los Angeles, I was exposed to many different cultures, ideologies, and socioeconomic issues that have fueled my creative exploration,” Ian explains. “The exploration of contemporary issues surrounding sustainability, poverty, intimacy, history, and identity are the driving forces of my practice.”
Though his prismatic work can be found splashed across southern California in the form of large-scale murals, Ian’s traditional paintings deal with the small, mundane moments we neglect in favor of flashy gestures and Instagram activism. Nine to Five is rife with “small” moments worth considering: the woman sudsing her cups in Wash Rinse Repeat might wonder how much water she’ll ration for dishes 20 years from now; the work-from-home employee in Energy Saver might close his laptop, warily eyeing the net-zero transmissions clock set to expire in 2050.
Ultimately sympathetic, Ian’s working-class vision is peppered with uprooted flowers, encouraging “viewers to question the significance of their own interactions with nature and life in the urban environment.”
Scroll through to read our interview with Ian, then head over to NOT REAL ART’s April 2023 exhibition, Art and the Environment, to see related works from environmental artists.
“The exploration of contemporary issues surrounding sustainability, poverty, intimacy, history, and identity are the driving forces of my practice.” — Ian Robertson-Salt
All photos published with permission of the artist.
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