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Jill Pelto
Jill Pelto

This Scientist Transforms Climate Change Graphs Into Works of Art

Jill Pelto
Jill Pelto

Presented on its own, a graph depicting the sharp increase in global temperatures in recent years isn't particularly beautiful. But artist and scientist Jill Pelto has found a way to transform alarming climate change data into gorgeous, watercolor landscapes, Smithsonian reports.

Her project, titled "Glaciogenic Art," takes line graphs showing data like dwindling glacier mass balance and rising sea levels and fills them in with relevant scenes from nature. In "Salmon Population Decline," a group of flailing fish swim down the length of a graph colored in tranquil blue, and in "Habitat Degradation: Deforestation," a plummeting line representing rainforest loss separates a tiger from his home. Some paintings combine multiple graphs. "Landscape of Change," for example, pulls data on sea levels, glacier volume, rising temperatures, and fossil fuel use to build a colorful and jagged horizon.

"I think that art is something that people universally enjoy and feel an emotional response to," Pelto said in a recent interview with Smithsonian. "People across so many disciplines and backgrounds look at and appreciate it, and so in that sense art is a good universal language."

The 22-year-old recently graduated from the University of Maine with a double major in Studio Art and Earth Science. She plans to return to the university to pursue her Master's in climate science next fall and is interested in collaborating with fellow scientists on more art pieces in the meantime. With global temperatures hitting an all-time high last year, finding creative ways to raise environmental awareness is more important than ever before. You can view more of her scientific works of art below and purchase prints by contacting her through her website

"Landscape of Change"

"Habitat Degradation: Deforestation"

"Habitat Degradation: Ocean Acidification"

"Habitat Degradation: Arctic Sea Melt"

"Increasing Forest Fire Activity"

"Salmon Population Decline"

Images courtesy of Jill Pelto. 

[h/t Smithsonian]

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The Getty Center, Surrounded By Wildfires, Will Leave Its Art Where It Is
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The wildfires sweeping through California have left countless homeowners and businesses scrambling as the blazes continue to grow out of control in various locations throughout the state. While art lovers worried when they heard that Los Angeles's Getty Center would be closing its doors this week, as the fires closed part of the 405 Freeway, there was a bit of good news. According to museum officials, the priceless works housed inside the famed Getty Center are said to be perfectly secure and won't need to be evacuated from the facility.

“The safest place for the art is right here at the Getty,” Ron Hartwig, the Getty’s vice president of communications, told the Los Angeles Times. According to its website, the museum was closed on December 5 and December 6 “to protect the collections from smoke from fires in the region,” but as of now, the art inside is staying put.

Though every museum has its own way of protecting the priceless works inside it, the Los Angeles Times notes that the Getty Center was constructed in such a way as to protect its contents from the very kind of emergency it's currently facing. The air throughout the gallery is filtered by a system that forces it out, rather than a filtration method which would bring air in. This system will keep the smoke and air pollutants from getting into the facility, and by closing the museum this week, the Getty is preventing the harmful air from entering the building through any open doors.

There is also a water tank at the facility that holds 1 million gallons in reserve for just such an occasion, and any brush on the property is routinely cleared away to prevent the likelihood of a fire spreading. The Getty Villa, a separate campus located in the Pacific Palisades off the Pacific Coast Highway, was also closed out of concern for air quality this week.

The museum is currently working with the police and fire departments in the area to determine the need for future closures and the evacuation of any personnel. So far, the fires have claimed more than 83,000 acres of land, leading to the evacuation of thousands of people and the temporary closure of I-405, which runs right alongside the Getty near Los Angeles’s Bel-Air neighborhood.

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This 77-Year-Old Artist Saves Money on Art Supplies by 'Painting' in Microsoft Excel
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It takes a lot of creativity to turn a blank canvas into an inspired work of art. Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi makes his pictures out of something that’s even more dull than a white page: an empty spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.

When he retired, the 77-year-old Horiuchi, whose work was recently spotlighted by Great Big Story, decided he wanted to get into art. At the time, he was hesitant to spend money on painting supplies or even computer software, though, so he began experimenting with one of the programs that was already at his disposal.

Horiuchi's unique “painting” method shows that in the right hands, Excel’s graph-building features can be used to bring colorful landscapes to life. The tranquil ponds, dense forests, and blossoming flowers in his art are made by drawing shapes with the software's line tool, then adding shading with the bucket tool.

Since picking up the hobby in the 2000s, Horiuchi has been awarded multiple prizes for his creative work with Excel. Let that be inspiration for Microsoft loyalists who are still broken up about the death of Paint.

You can get a behind-the-scenes look at the artist's process in the video below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

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