Madison Erin Mayfield
Natural Science Illustration | Nature & Science Put to Paper

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ART AS ACTIVISM

Where do I start? To say that this past year has been a doozy would be putting it nicely. As a Conservation Biologist, a Scientific Illustrator/Artist, an Environmentalist & a Woman, I have felt more scared than I ever have in my 24 years of life. I have found myself in tears over the state of our planet and the executive decisions being created left and right to destroy it. I will not be silent about my complete disdain for Donald Trump as a leader of the free world and as a human being in general. He is no champion for the environment, simply a champion for himself and his wealthy fellow white men. It breaks my heart that one man with so little compassion can have so much power. But in a twisted way, part of me is thankful for his election. It has woken so many of us up from our comfortable complacency and reminded us that our voices do make a difference. We needed Trump to remind us that we always have to fight for what we care about most. I needed Trump to remind me that my passion for conservation is not something that can be pursued at a later date. I see now that it is my duty as a human to leave this planet better than when I left it. That’s why I’m finally so excited to announce my “ART AS ACTIVISM” campaign. 

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I’ve been struggling a lot with the purpose of my art, as any artist does. Sometimes I feel silly and selfish to set aside so much time to do something I love while so many others are struggling to put food on the table or keep a roof over their heads. If I’m going to call myself a Scientific Illustrator/Artist, I have to do so with the intention to make a difference, which is why I’ve finally decided that I want to create art that gives back to the environment and spreads awareness for conservation efforts. From this moment on, 20% of all purchases made in my shop will be donated directly to the Sierra Club, an organization that fights for our planet’s wildlife.

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And it won’t stop there. As I begin to focus on more Australian flora and fauna, I hope to donate proceeds from that work to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. I find myself in a place of privilege. I am not wealthy by any means, but I am lucky enough to live in a country of peace and have the freedom to spend my time making art. So many don’t get to say the same. It is the duty of those with privilege to pay attention to conservation efforts and lead by example. The truth is that climate change legislation and environmental conservation are the most important issues because in the end, they are the issues that affect all of us. We will never be able to feed the hungry if we find ourselves experiencing extreme drought and crop death. We will never resolve refugee conflicts when refugee numbers increase from small island nations and coastal cities that find themselves underwater. We will never be able to reduce health care costs and teach preventative medicine when our water is filled with plastic and our air with chemicals. Do your part. Always, always, always get out and vote, but also make a conscious effort to vote everyday with your wallet. If you are privileged enough to find yourself in a place where you can purchase art, buy art that makes a difference. Encourage the careers of those who are trying to do good. Help me to save our planet’s wildlife and fight for a world that cares about conservation. We only have one planet, people!

Madison MayfieldComment