Category Archives: Vegetarian & Vegan

Take A Bite With The PB&J Campaign

Is it possible to protect animals and the environment through a vegan based diet? The people from the PB&J Campaign believe it is a fact. The organization was formed by a group of concerned citizens sponsored by the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (SEE) who assists activist working to improve the world naturally. The PB&J Campaign’s sole purpose is to fight our environmental issues through limiting the amount of animal products people eat. Their goal is to shed light on the damage eating animals cause and help individuals change one meal at a time. Although, the program’s reasons are geared more towards environmentalism than animal rights it promotes vegan lifestyle and in the process will save thousands of defenseless animals from slaughter houses. The program shows individuals that they can make a huge difference similar to the act of recycling through simply changing their diet as well.

How Does It Actually Work?

According to the PB&J Campaign, everything we eat comes from plants, whether we eat the plants directly or through an animal intermediary. The basic problem is that animals are inefficient at converting plants into meat, milk, and eggs. Relatively little of what they eat ends up in what you eat because animals use most of their food to keep them alive – to fuel their muscles so they can stand up and walk around, to keep their hearts beating, to keep their brains working. That cow, pig, or chicken has to eat a lot more protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients than it yields in meat, eggs, or milk. The result is that it takes several pounds of corn and soy to produce one pound of beef, or one pound of eggs, one pound of milk, etc. This holds true even if we’re measuring calories or protein; it takes several times the calories or protein in livestock feed to produce the calories or protein we get from the meat, eggs, or milk.

If we’re wasting livestock feed, we’re also wasting what it takes to grow that feed. This includes inputs like fossil fuels (with all the emissions they produce) to run machinery, to pump water for irrigation, for transportation, and to produce the pesticides and fertilizers. Then there’s the land (= cleared rainforest and grasslands) for growing the crops, along with fertilizers (which produce their own greenhouse gas emissions) and pesticides. When you eliminate livestock and digest plants directly it takes less plants to support you. You also save the inputs that go into the plants. You save fossil fuels, water, land, fertilizers, and pesticides. You also save extra greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer and burning fossil fuels, and you save water pollution from chemicals and silt washing off fields into waterways.

And if that’s not enough, you save on the resources used in raising the animals – yet more land and water. You also save the animal waste that is its own pollution problem, not to mention more greenhouse gas emissions like methane from enteric fermentation. Few people are aware that livestock is responsible for 18% of global climate change.

If you want to contribute in the fight to make a healthier planet by one meal at a time than take the Pledge Now.

Smart Energy Technology:

Artist Spotlight: Jess Pillmore of A Second Chance

Jess Pillmore can not simply be defined as a Fiber Artist as she is skilled in various, eclectic endeavors including Teaching Performance Art and playing music of her own. Although A Second Chance is based out of Austinville, Virginia, Jess herself claims “we’re on the road so much, a lot of the time I’m creating in hotels and in the car”. When a business in Fiber Arts is based 100% on reclaimed yarn it is easy to imagine acquiring material to create those pieces in a car! Jess has a real focus on the planet not only through her Fiber Arts but in many aspects of her life and she was excited to share her experiences with us.

Describe a day in your personal or professional life.

When I’m home (which is rare but glorious), I enjoy the benefits of freelancing and being my own boss… aka I stay in my pj’s while I correspond, send out contracts, research new pieces, write new songs, create new designs and enjoy the quiet of rural Virginia. I’m obsessed with a whistlepig (groundhog) that eats from our apple tree. He’s a riot and huge! Then, when I’m on the road, I have to focus more on meeting new people (audiences, students, staff, artists), the ever-changing views from our car, NPR, creating a “home” where we are right at that moment so my husband and I never lose our footing, lose our roots. Kind of general, but we have to do all that in a day when we’re touring/teaching/performing.

How do you balance your life in music with your other endeavors?

Well, I have to keep reminding myself (’cause sometimes it doesn’t feel this way) that the common thread to all these “different” occupations – theatre, music, dance, fiber arts, producing and running a business – is me. So, the balance has to come from me. I have to focus on the moment and what inspires me in that moment. I move back and forth from all these occupations constantly, sometimes within the same day, depending on the situation. But I love it and that’s what helps. If it was stress or a chore, then I wouldn’t do it. Life’s too short to be bummed out. I try and exercise a lot, eat well and appreciate all that’s around me… the rest is play.

What type of actions do you take while touring to reduce your carbon footprint?

I tour in a Prius (love it!). I’m an electronic girl, so that means electronic press kits, contracts, etc. It helps lessen all the paper and plastic in my business on and off the road. I’m uber conscious of my tour routing – making the most of every stop and trying not to back track or travel out of the way. I combine a lot of my other occupations with my touring in order to do that better – teaching workshops in neighboring cities when playing a gig, etc. I try and travel light and buy local wherever we are.

What suggestions do you have for touring musicians to lessen their own environmental impact while on the road?

I’ve found that choices that help the environment help you too (and vice versa)… being smart and economical about your tour routing is better for everyone, including your wallet (which is really important as in indie on the road). Pack your own food (in bulk), be self contained to lessen your trash across the country. And with everything, the more research and pre-production work you do, the more you save in the long run – save for yourself and save the environment.

What drew you to fiber arts?

My great-grandmother, grandmother and mom were/are big time crafters – cross stitch, embroidery, knitting, crocheting, quilting, sewing, you name it. I picked it up from them when I was little and loved the quiet feeling of community sitting and creating with them. And there’s a great feeling of accomplishment, for me, seeing a piece I made from scratch. Plus, the colors and textures are a ton of fun to play with.

Who or what inspired you to pursue creation of fashion?

See above, it’s a family thing!

Where do you acquire material to create your wearable art?

Thrift stores all across the country. I hunt out the “I can’t believe someone tossed this!” pieces of clothing to deconstruct and then re-craft into something new. It was hard, at first, to take a part some of these pieces, but I started researching thrift stores more and found that they are up to their eyeballs in clothing. Most destroy them completely if they don’t sell within a certain time period. And the act of deconstructing helps me to understand each piece/material better, understand where it’s coming from. Just like listening to a person and finding out what makes them tick. Plus, shopping at thrift stores lessens post-consumer trash and donates funds to local charities.

When did you begin teaching and what do you teach?

Even as a director/choreographer, I was teaching and didn’t call it that. But I would cast artists that were amazingly capable but needed to be challenged…that’s where the teaching came in. I started officially teaching at 20 and haven’t stopped since (I’m 32 now). I teach theatre (mask, commedia, ensemble work, team building, contact improvisation, musical theatre, stage combat), dance (all types and choreography skills) and music (songwriting and music appreciation). My theatre company, Creatively Independent, also teaches artists how to become independent in their work and their business, as well as teach people how to boost their creativity within their work (even if they’re not professional or amateur artists). My husband, Chris Beaulieu, and I teach all ages and skill levels (pre-K to professional adults). That might sound wild, but we teach to the student, so it’s no sweat for us to alter our approach depending on the age, intent or skill level. That’s part of what allows us to do so many things and be Creatively Independent.

When teaching, do you place any emphasis on green concepts?

Yes, but not in a preachy way. I feel that, with anything, if a person can’t find the benefit of it within themselves then the change isn’t going to happen. We’re all selfish people (because our self is all we have), so I don’t think it’s a bad thing for me to say this. So, when I teach or perform, I try and show how it works for me. I try and question, promote and educate so it might spark something inside them.

Were you influenced by the Green Movement?

Yes, the momentum and availability of information definitely fueled me. And I personally made a connection to my grandparents and great-grandparents’ way of life (which was very green)… use it until it breaks down, then fix it, then use the parts that work for something else, keep going until it’s practically scraps. Compost, grow/buy locally, run a lot of errands at once or the “while you’re in town” list, lessen chemicals in the body and the home, natural cleaners, work with nature not against it…

What have you incorporated into your lifestyle to facilitate going green and conserving energy?

Natural cleaners, energy efficient appliances, less paper products (doing most things electronically), washing with cold water, hanging the wash on the line, opening windows (hardly used the a/c this year), putting a sweater on in the house (helps with the heat bill), conserving water, using my dish cloths to wash the dishes instead of disposable ones.

Tell me about your home renovation. What are some of the green products you used while remodeling?

We’re working on our 100 year old farmhouse using repurposed materials as much as possible, as well as insulating more to help with heat and air issues. It’s a blast to work with recycled glass (I’m getting into cutting old wine and beer bottles to use for stain glass installations). I think the main thing for us, is to use what we can (not just gut it and start over) as well as make sure what we have is energy efficient. We also repurpose what we’ve had to take out of the house for either craft projects (I build frames for my hand embroidered pieces with the old stairs) or for our new theater. We’re in the process of designing a black box theatre/studio, focusing on using what’s already there – shade, wind, the rise and set of the sun to heat and cool the studio. It’s exciting and challenging… but that’s where all that pre-production work comes in handy.

What is important to you about conservation and preserving our environment?

I think the earth is trying to balance itself (as all things do) and as humans we’ve tipped it onto one side pretty hard. I’m just trying to do what I can to balance – give back what I’ve taken. Also, I feel that the instantaneous, “gotta have it now” feeling that’s in most of our culture presently is without depth. A lot is lost by jumping right to the prize without experiencing the process of attaining the prize. For example, we don’t have a microwave anymore because we realized it was important for us to make ourselves stop working for 30-60 minutes and cook. Enjoy the smells, the act of creating the meal, cleaning up, sitting down to eat and talk about the day. We were missing all that because a microwave allowed us to zap our meal in 3 minutes and eat it practically standing up. We’ve noticed a huge improvement in our physical and mental health because of this choice and others like it. So, I guess that all goes back to what I was saying earlier, I had to find a reason why it benefited me to be able to benefit the environment.

What challenges have you had to bring eco-consciousness into your work?

Me. The challenge was my “easy outs”. I had to change, slowly but surely, my schedule, my time line, my wants/needs. Let’s put it this way… it’s easier and faster for me to buy yarn all ready to be knitted. It takes more time to find the sweater, clean it, take a part the pieces, unravel the yarn, wind it up and then knit it…. but it’s much more fun. The impact for others is greater and the impact is greater for myself. The challenge is to embrace being unique. When we do things ourselves for ourselves, each moment is unique, no one else can do exactly what you do. But we lose ourselves and our creativity when we grab the easy, the quick and the brainless… aka the pre-packaged, millions like it, the same in any city product. The challenge is to be me.

Do you feel that the Internet has a positive or negative influence on art? How does the Internet affect your work?

I’m a positive gal, so I’m gonna say positive influences! More access, more information, larger audience for someone’s work…love it. I’m able to have fans all over the world for my music, theatre and fiber arts. That’s amazing to me. I just have to balance within my self, how much time I spend on the Internet. I get overwhelmed with all the possibilities and then discover I haven’t created anything…ha ha ha, so I have to balance the research/inspiration with the actual creation. The Internet also allowed me to work with incredible musicians on my last album, Reveal: Viktor Krauss (Lyle Lovett, Bill Frisell), Matt Chamberlain (Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, David Bowie), Craig Barnette (Mofro, Donavon Frankenreiter) and Dan Phelps (Tori Amos). I was able to have Viktor create stunning bass and keyboard parts in his home studio in Nashville, while we were recording in Seattle with Matt in his home studio for percussion. My producer, Dan, was able to work with me via the internet, sending ideas and prodding me artistically. I could send lyric changes, and new tune ideas via my home studio. It was thrilling and an honor that they wanted to create in such an intimate way using a normally disconnected format (the internet). But it also made it possible for me to afford them as well, since I banked my own project with my alt. americana label, RoadWorm Music. I co-created it with my father, Bill Pillmore, and we have fab artists on there… please check them out.

What are you currently working on? Can you tell us about it?

With fiber arts, I’m combining knitting and crocheting right now – just finished a Rainbow baby blanket that I love and a funky tea cozy made from the edges of sweater sleeves. I’m also working on holiday fun with my sweater pieces… maybe stockings that I embroider on, ornaments… that’s later on today. In theatre, Chris and I are researching/writing a clown ensemble piece to start producing/directing this year for the festival circuit… it’s about family dynamics shown through the raw honesty and absurdity of the clown’s point of view. I’m also writing a folk rock musical with fellow label mate, Ron Morris. It’s about living in the moment and how we all struggle to own and then let go of our stories. The music is new – audio pointillism – with each song broken up into different character’s point of view to show that each moment has many variations of grey in the meaning. With teaching, Chris and I are starting to teach internationally this year, so that’s a thrill! And at home, Chris just started up a vegan/gluten free baking adventure on Etsy. So, I’ve been helping him with that, working on the repurposed cookie tins that I cover in reclaimed fabric. The house smells great!

What advice would you give a young artist just getting started?

Do your research. Be prepared. Create because you love to not because you want someone’s approval or sales. Know your needs (rent, food, bills, etc.) and reduce them if you can to allow you to work as an artist full time. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself. Put a price on your time and creativity – artists can be good at math! Don’t buy the hype that you have to suffer to be an artist. You have to be open to all emotions and opportunities without judgment to be an artist – that includes happiness, joy and success. You, not others, must define your success… and I promise that definition will constantly change. Be patient, breathe and smile.

What Green Product would you recommend to our readers?

Prius, big time.

What is your best going green tip?

Baking soda can be your best friend from absorbing odors in your fridge, trash can, rugs – cleaning a clogged drain – to healing an icky boil (yucky, but true). Seriously, natural products are rad, look around/ask around and find out about baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice. 🙂

How would your friends describe you?

Busy. hahaha, okay, I had to ask my friends on this one ’cause I describe myself as shy and quiet… they said collectively “silly, caring, compassionate, dedicated, busy, cute, funny, giving…” there was more but I find it hard to type without laughing uncomfortably!

Do you have a website or online presence that showcases your work?

Yes, ma’am! Here’s the list… hee hee hee
A Second Chance – Fiber Arts – Recycled Knitwear
Etsy store

Yes You Can! – Vegan/Gluten Free Insanely Good Treats
Smart Energy Technology:

Artist Spotlight The Grownup Noise – Part I: The Band Gets a Van

It may be difficult for some to grasp the concept of a touring musical act to be focused on going green as there are sure to be many days of long distance driving, resulting in gas consumption, trash accumulation and emissions that are unmatched by the average driver. This was something The Grownup Noise was concerned with as well and as they began making plans for a 2008 summer tour, the concept of a conversion van running on veggie oil became more and more appealing. In Part I of our discussion, Adam Sankowski (Bass, Vocal) was kind enough to share some of the feelings the group (Additionally comprised of members Paul Hansen – Guitar, Vocals; Katie Franich – Cello, Keyboards, Percussion, moral support; Attis Clopton – Drums, Percussion) had with regard to their scheduled conversion and why the band as a whole is so focused on being as eco-friendly as possible.

Keep an eye out for Part II of this interview which will be the follow up detailing how the band enjoyed their tour using the converted van as well as photos of the veggie van in action!

Describe a day in your personal or professional life.

Well, I kind of work two full time jobs. Both music related… I work as a music therapist at a Children’s Hospital and I play in / manage “The Grownup Noise”, which is a full time job, just not one that I get paid for. Most days start with going to work at the hospital at 8 am, I then get out around 3 pm, head off to some private Music Therapy clients or guitar students, and then have a rehearsal most nights around 6 or 7. I have a very understanding girlfriend as I am usually tied up with music all day.

Who or what influences your work and why?

Really, any artist who is creating for the right reasons. Musically, I respect any band that is in it for artistic reasons and who is passionate about what they do. That might sound rather general, but there are a lot of musicians on the national level who are just playing songs that other people wrote for them, or who are record label creations. Luckily with technology the playing field is becoming much more leveled. The veggie oil conversion is part of that. The fact that these days an independent band can hit the road without major label tour support and make it work is huge. The fact that bands don’t need a label to make art or need someone telling them what is marketable is so awesome these days.

More specifically I really like a ton of bands that are out right now from classic bands like R.E.M. to the newer pop bands from Canada like Stars, New Pornographers, or Broken Social Scene. There are so, so many great bands out there right now. And there are a ton of cool artists in Boston.

Is it your personal belief that creativity, and the ability to create art, is innate?

Yes, but you have to work at it to refine it. Children can create all day long; adults have to work a bit more at it. And as far as music goes, you don’t just wake up a good musician… well some do, but most don’t. I know I put my time in. I had my few years of not talking to many people and spending a lot of time in a practice room… or you are the guy at the party always playing guitar and trying to get people to jam with you. I think as far as song writing goes, that’s the ultimate reflection of the refinement of art. Nobody is born a great songwriter. Whenever you talk to anyone who writes good songs they talk about they wrote nothing but crap for years. And how the best songs just “come to you” but that it takes years to realize that. I can’t write songs though, I’m too self-critical. Paul takes care of that in the band… and he’s my hero. I just work on arrangements and parts. Writing a good part to a song is much the same process though. A really good part that helps to move a song along takes creativity and maturity.

Who or what inspired you to become a musician?

Some kid on the bus in 7th grade. I over heard him talking about how easy the guitar was to play (he was wrong), and I got inspired. I had always loved music from playing the trumpet from 4th grade on. Once I got my hands on a guitar that is all I did, and then moved from there to almost every other instrument at some point.

Did you think it would ever be possible to go green while touring?

No, because I figured that was something that people with a lot of money could do… by buying carbon credits or something. Then I heard about veggie oil conversions a year or two ago and my mind got going. The price of gas pushed me over the edge.

Why was it so important to go green?

Well, first there is the reality of gas prices and the fact that they make touring for a band the conventional way a money losing proposition. But the conversion is a much of money too. But then I started thinking about if I would really feel good about driving around the country when in the back of my head I knew that it wasn’t good for the environment. And the reality is that we need to get off oil NOW. It’s going to happen soon though, whether it’s because of market forces, or the other developing nations, or just the fact that we will finally realize what we are doing to our planet. So, I just decided that I wanted our band to be part of a solution rather then a problem so I got a loan and found a diesel van!

Tell me a little about your conversion from gasoline in your van, are you excited to get on the road to test it out this summer?

Yes, we are super excited but a bit nervous too. Without taking up too much space, the basic concept is that diesel engines are workhorses that can totally run on vegetable oil. In fact I think that I read somewhere that was what they were originally designed for. That’s all “bio diesel” is, veggie oil that has been thinned out with acids and other chemicals. We aren’t using bio diesel, we are going on straight veggie oil (SVO). Veggie oil on its own is too thick for the engines fuel injectors, so what we do is keep the diesel system and tank intact and then add in a separate tank for the veggie oil. Then you install a small radiator in the veggie oil tank and run some of the coolant from the engine to it. So you have to start the van up on diesel fuel and then the diverted engine coolant heats up the veggie oil in the tank and thins it out to where it can go through the fuel injectors. After about five minutes you flick a switch from diesel to veggie and you’re good to go! You also have to switch back before you stop to diesel. So you do have to buy some diesel fuel, but only about a tank per cross-country trip… not too bad.

We are installing a hundred gallon tank too so that we don’t have to stop all the time, and we can go for about 1,500 miles on a tank. That way we can get grease on our days off and not worry about making sound check. Aaron from the well known local band Pie Bald is installing the tank (he owns Angel City Motor Works in L.A.) and he does this full time for bands so he knows how to make it the least stressful and most fun for bands to tour on grease. He’s the best.

What do you think people will think when they drive behind your van on the road?

That we are cooking! I actually ended up behind a turbo diesel Mercedes the other day that was burning grease. I know he was because when it first drove by me, I was like “are those his breaks burning?” but then it smelled kind of sweet. I talked to Aaron about it and he said that all grease smells different but that our tank will be airtight and we’ll only smell it in the van at stoplights.

I’m excited about how it will smell because diesel fuel smells horrible. Some old man yelled at me the other day for “parking my smelly van in front of his house”.

What are some other ways you have incorporated green into your work (aluminum water bottles on stage, etc)?

Ah… good question. I didn’t even think about that… but we do that anyways. Our guitarist’s brother works in product development at Nalgene so there is no shortage of reusable bottles around. I’m a recycling fanatic anyways. I’m always the one cleaning out beer bottles from the practice space and bringing them home.

Can you tell me about your creative process?

Basically Paul (our guitarist singer) writes the songs and then I arrange them/ change them around with him. Then we present them to either our drummer (Attis) or our cello player (Katie) to work on next. So they go through a process and at any point they can be drastically re-worked. We are fairly democratic and our rule is to always try everyone’s ideas, no matter how crazy they may seem. You always try everything, as we’ve been surprised how things have worked out that sounded like they wouldn’t. Recently though we’ve been bringing songs into rehearsals in a more beginning form and letting them take shape with the band all throwing in ideas at the same time.

Where did your first inspiration come from?

For this band? From the moment I heard Paul’s songs I knew that I wanted to be in a band with him. I then set myself to learn the bass (guitar was my main thing before) so I could play with him because he’s the best guitarist I’ve ever met and I didn’t need to compete with him, and we didn’t need another guitar. I’ve been told that I play the bass like a guitar anyways.

What have you incorporated into your lifestyle to facilitate going green and conserving energy?

I have become really good about always unplugging EVERYTHING so that I am not draining energy from my cell phone charge, etc. during work. I bike everywhere that I can, and like I mentioned, I am the “recycling chief” of my apartment.

What is important to you about conservation and preserving our environment?

Well, it’s just not really an option anymore. I mean, you can chose not to, but it’s always on my mind and I feel so guilty not doing my part.

What challenges have you had in your work?

Getting anyone to listen. Getting booking agents to call/ email me back. People are listening now, but booking agents are still the bane of my existence… but I love them too and they do a thankless and amazing job for all of us though.

Do you feel that the Internet has a positive or negative influence on art? How does the Internet affect your work?

The Internet rules! First off the fact that you can book an entire national tour via MySpace is amazing, and you really can. That’s all we use to book. Craig’s list postings do the scouting for us, and once we find our venues we just MySpace them. It’s great for cutting down on paper and being environmental. I can’t imagine how they did it in the 80’s, 90’s or even early 00’s, sending out CD after CD, press kit after press kit, hoping that somebody was listening, and then calling and calling. Now you can blast an email to every club in a city with the dates that you are looking for. They can instantly go on your MySpace and see if you’re cool, and then book you.

Plus, we have met so many great people who simply stumbled upon us via MySpace, who now come out to shows and who came out during our last tour. This blog and article is a great example of the internet as well. The Internet is the main thing that helps level the playing field for all artists and musicians. Yeah, yeah, people don’t buy Cd’s anymore… but if our band existed in 1991, and we weren’t on a label, then no one would be “stealing music” but there would also be no way for anyone to hear about us. The internet is really the best, and the musicians in bands right now are SO lucky that it’s hitting its stride and that “social networking” is really working well right now while we are all around trying to get our name out there right now.

What is your greatest ambition as an artist?

To do this as a living while remaining true to the art. And to release a couple of truly great and lasting records… even if it’s only a limited number of people that hear them. Great art lasts… there have been so many great records that have been discovered well after the band ended or they stopped promoting. Truly great art spreads by word of mouth the best. Just look at Neutral Milk Hotel. They are indie rock legends now and that album (in the airplane over the sea) is ten years old. Most of my friends that are into them just heard about them in the last few years, almost a decade after the band was done.

What are you currently working on? Can you tell us about it?

Well, we are always writing. We just released our latest album; self titled “The Grownup Noise”. We have more than half of the tracks for that written and the basics (drums and bass) tracked for it in the studio already. Our biggest stuff right now is just promoting the record through the tour with the veggie van.

What are your long-term career goals?

Just what I already mentioned. To make a living at this without becoming “cheesy” or making artistic compromises.

Are there any historical or contemporary artists that you specifically admire?

Like I said, anyone who is creating for the “right” reasons. The bands that I listen are endless…

What advice would you give a young artist just getting started?

Be really nice to everyone… nobody wants to book someone who is full of themselves. Just be really, really nice. And make sure the music is really good… it’d like to think that we put in our time on that part the most…. you can have all the promotion and money to promote in the world. But if your music isn’t engaging live, and interesting, nobody is going to care. It’s an old term, but it really is about the music! Once that is locked up though, then worry about promotion. It seems like some do it the other way around.

Also, the one practical tip I have is. Don’t play a thousand smaller shows that you have to promote. Play a big one, once every few months and really make a big deal/ fun night out of it. It makes everything more memorable. But play absolutely every other random show and coffee house that you don’t have to promote before that to practice playing live… you aren’t above playing ANY show.
And try and tour as much as possible (with your veggie van of course)

What “Green” Product would you recommend to our readers?

Your bike. Especially in Boston. It’s pretty safe to bike around here if you aren’t in a hurry and aren’t crazy. And nothing can save you money faster or the environment more then not driving.

What is your best “going green tip”- for example turning off lights, or eating one meatless meal a week?

Oh, I didn’t even think about vegetarianism as an environmental thing, but of course it is! Being a vegetarian myself, I’d say go for it! There are so many convenient products and soy food out there now… they all are yummy and there are plenty of “bad for you” veggie food as well. Just try veggie for a while. But I’d say getting the habit of unplugging and turning off all your electrical stuff when you are out, would be a great place to start. Not that I am perfect about it, but I really try to be. It’s so funny how most environmental stuff turns into a direct savings too, so turn it off, turn the heat down and save some money!

How would your friends describe you?

(I hope that they would say) Nice, dedicated, passionate, funny (when you get to know me), caring, always busy, driven, and when I say that I’m going to do something I do it.

Do you have a website or online presence?

Of Course!!!!!
The Grownup Noise on MySpace
Official Website
Check out our Tour Dates on either! Tell your friends in far away places! Support independent artists trying to be green and come out to a show!

Smart Energy Technology:

Artist Spotlight Judi FitzPatrick of Judi FitzPatrick Studios – Photographer

Judi FitzPatrick is a strong believer that everyone can live an eco-friendly lifestyle and she was excited to incorporate these concepts into her photography. Although there may be a stigma that photography could be harmful to the Earth Judi is living proof that not only can someone snap an amazing moment in time, they can share it with the world in an environmentally conscious way.

Describe a day in your personal or professional life.

A typical day could include yoga or some other spiritual practice, yard work, taking photos, making new inventory, listing and promoting to my online storefront, 3 mostly-vegetarian meals (occasional fish is allowed), reading, writing, walking, knitting, and sleeping. Most important of all – eating some very dark chocolate.

Who or what influences your work and why?

Other great photographers help me to aspire to do it better everyday. A flower, a scenic vista, light streaming through a window, a bird in a tree or in flight give a nudge toward the camera.

Is it your personal belief that creativity, and the ability to create art, is innate?

Yes, everything we do can be creative in some way depending on one’s approach. You don’t have to be Picasso to be able to create art. The plating of a simple meal can be as artistic as the work of a great painter.

Who or what inspired you to become a photographer?

In the beginning it was my Dad – a passionate photographer who took pictures, developed the b&w film, and printed the pictures also gave me my first camera – a Brownie that had been his. My friend, Bill, helped me to “see” the picture before I snapped it; with his encouragement and hints I finally started to do it well.

Do you self print or send photos to a printer? If they are sent out is the print house local?

Currently, I send my images to a local photo lab. I am looking into alternatives to the C-print process which involves the use of chemicals; there are so many archival quality printers on the market these days that a new one may soon be making an appearance in my studio.

Do you use sustainable products in your work?

The note cards use only card stock made with recycled materials. The same is true for the enlargement backer boards. The plastic sleeves are #5 recyclable and my next order will be for biodegradable sleeves – now available.

Why was it so important to go green?

I feel it is only right that I do my share of keeping the Earth in good condition for the future generations; it seems to me we’ve only got this once chance.

Can you tell me about your creative process?

It’s like this – I don’t think I “create” anything. I think I have the ability to see something that is already there, the camera can then capture and make that something visible to whoever looks at printed image.

Where did your first inspiration come from?

I guess it was the desire to be like my father in finding the right shot and capturing it for all time on film.

What have you incorporated into your lifestyle to facilitate going green and conserving energy?

I’ve had many years to practice this as I began to live “green” in the 70’s before that term was coined, so the list is somewhat long – when I must drive it’s a hybrid vehicle I own and use, I walk or take public transportation for many activities, I do not eat anything that “walks on land” and my fish intake is minimal (plus not farm-raised if possible), I practice organic gardening, I purchase organically grown produce whenever possible, I take my own reusable grocery sacks for shopping, as light bulbs have burned out they’ve been replaced with compact fluorescent ones, I’ve switched from film to digital photography, I recycle or reuse the tiniest scraps of paper, I save glass jars and use one on top of another for decorative storage and serving, I save and reuse plastic containers for sharing leftovers with guests (rather than use brand new plastic bags or containers). I’ve just started using another tip from this blog – I’m using shredded paper as packing material when shipping non-flat items – a great suggestion, thank you!

What is important to you about conservation and preserving our environment?

Saving non-renewable resources, keeping our planet beautiful. What we have is limited, we must use it wisely.

What challenges have you had in your work?

Self-promotion for one, I need lots of practice and some methods that will work for me.

Do you feel that the Internet has a positive or negative influence on art? How does the Internet affect your work?

To answer the second part – see the question above. This is one of the methods to help me promote more easily as there is no stumbling over words during a sales call.

In general, the Internet has had a positive impact. An artist anywhere in the world can become known to anyone, anywhere else in the world almost instantaneously – what could be better than that?

What is your greatest ambition as an artist?

I would like to leave the viewer with either a smile on their face or a feeling of peace in their heart.

What are you currently working on? Can you tell us about it?

I am actively doing 2 things at this time. First, I’m in the process of organizing and digitizing old film negatives and slides so I can eventually print these on my own printer. Second, I’ve got a couple of new product ideas, using my photo images, that are in the works – can’t say more than that at this time.

What are your long term career goals?

Since I’m 59 years old, long term seems a foreign concept. However, I am trying to become the best photographer I can in whatever time I have left on this planet.

Are there any historical or contemporary artists that you specifically admire?

Ansel Adams, Mary Cassatt, Anne Geddes, David Hockney, Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keefe, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, John Singer Sargent, Elizabeth Zimmermann

What advice would you give a young artist just getting started?

Listen to your own inner voice, don’t let anyone else tell you your art is no good, and make your art every day.

What “Green” Product would you recommend to our readers?

A big one – Toyota Prius, a small one – Earth Friendly Products’ RTU Orange Plus

What is your best “going green tip”- for example turning off lights, or eating one meatless meal a week?

If you own your own home, eliminate your lawn and plant a tree. For everyone – add some houseplants with large leaves to help clean the air inside your home or office.

How would your friends describe you?

I’ve never asked, but I’d guess they would say I’m “different”.

Do you have a website or online presence?

Judi FitzPatrick Studios

Thank you for this opportunity to be featured on The Organic Mechanic. Peace, Judi

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