Brian Arthur is the sort of guy you want to go hiking with. Traipsing through the Pecos Wilderness may seem like just another walk in the woods for some, but when you go with Arthur, the trek quickly turns into a magical journey where the forest unearths a secret plant world that few could imagine.
Arthur’s Santa Fe-based environmental art studio, Bastella Design, is where he combines his organic finds with industrial materials to create one-of-a-kind compositions that highlight his deep reverence for the earth’s biosphere. His mission is to create art without the worry of leaving any carbon footprint — he takes what is found in abundance or has perished, never disturbing the natural habitat. As a matter of fact, everything Arthur uses is organic or repurposed.
A self-proclaimed environmentalist since he was young, Arthur grew up in Los Alamos, where he and his physicist father would study nature as both a science and an art form. Explorations through walks and hikes presented new ways of looking at old things, and after a friend of his father gave him a telescope, he saw nature for the first time as architecture.
Years later, Arthur has successfully created thought-provoking pieces that focus on biomimicry, a design discipline in which sustainable solutions are created using nature’s patterns and strategies. He describes his work as a juxtaposition of repurposed products mixed with organic elements that recreate the sequences he discovers in nature.
His other passion, contemporary design, is apparent in pieces like “Lichen Room Dividers” and “Bark Wall Tapestries.” Each has a modern feel with a specific function. Arthur says he does this on purpose; he wants his art to be functional, not just fill a space. “When I create a design for a client’s home, I want to make sure it exudes an organic, Zen-like energy that can also service the room in some capacity.”
Many of the organic materials he uses come from his own background. He finds the Pecos Wilderness, the Jemez Mountains, various trails in the Santa Fe Ski Basin area, and other neighboring ranges to be filled with treasure. Usnea and antler lichen, pine needles and cones, cork bark, and fungi, are found here in abundance he says, adding, “we are lucky to live in a city with such close access to nature.”
Arthur’s work has appeared in a variety of New Mexico galleries, including GVG Contemporary Gallery and Zane Bennett Contemporary Art, with ongoing installations in Hand Artes Gallery in Truchas. He was a part of the recent botanical art show, Santa Fe in Bloom, at New Concept Gallery on Canyon Road with three other local environmental artists.
For more information, visit his website: http://earthartanddesign.com.
Carole has been in the floriculture industry for over 23 years, from wholesale and retail sales to public outreach and events planning. She is a Master Gardener and is an advocate, lecturer and supporter of New Mexico’s sustainable, local flower farms. Her floral design studio, “A Garden of Earthly Delights,” is in Santa Fe and Baltimore. Contact her at 443.257.8833 and firstname.lastname@example.org, and see www.flowerspy.com.