Meet Jacopo & Marta

Jacopo, the sustainable artist, and Marta, the zero-waste soap maker.

'Art is a tool for me to speak up about environmental issues' - Jacopo

'I put special effort in sourcing sustainable ingredients, compostable packaging, and returning schemes' - Marta

Spark your imagination and find Jacopo's artwork on Instagram and live a greener life with Marta's zero waste soaps.

Meet our hero couple, Jacopo & Marta. Jacopo creates sustainable pop & abstract art using waste materials. Marta creates all-natural zero-waste beauty products and cosmetics with her company Bottega Zero Waste, and also teaches workshops about her craft. Together they show us how we can create beautiful things from nature, and they strive to spread awareness about human impact on our planet.

Read Jacopo and Marta's Stories

JACOPO AND MARTA'S STORIES


What impact are you trying to make on society and why do you think it can be achieved through art?

 

Art is a great communication tool. I strongly believe that a visual content, such as an illustration, a drawing or a painting, can bring along lots of powerful messages, and ultimately awareness. In fact, sometimes art could be even more powerful than thousand words. Nowadays art can be also shared through various social media platforms that are now so accessible to many people, giving the opportunity to artists to showcase their works.


My artworks focus on environmental issues covering a wide range of topics – general waste, pollution, food waste, plastic, or even global warming. Lots of people are still not aware of all the issues impacting the environment. Therefore, I wanted to find a more creative way to discuss such matter, so to make more and more people aware. Through the use of simple images, I aim to reach as many people as possible with the goals to raise public awareness around environmental issues and create debate. I love debates as these are a way to keep people talking about a topic, leading to something new, hopefully to a solution to the problem. Compared to most of other artists I like to explain what I create, giving some background about my figurations, images and colours. This again is done on purpose with the goal to create a dialogue with the viewer, and get other points of view, which ultimately may generate other ideas or source of inspiration.

 

What answers do you expect from the different audience groups you address to?


A great thing about art is that is accessible to anybody, so is mine. My style is conceptual and minimalist. My strokes are so simple and spontaneous that can reach any audience. The simplicity of my style makes the works "immortal" carrying timeliness concepts and figurations, which allows me to reach as many people as possible, and of different age.

The topics around my paintings, such as environmental problems, should affect everybody. I want my audience groups to ask themselves questions about these macro problems, and then think about their individual situations – such as their habits or daily routines, and ultimately what they can do to improve the world we live in.


Tell us a bit more about Pop Still Life. Where did the idea come from? What is the main difference compared with previous series you have created?


One day I was reading few articles on internet about food waste, pollution, and general waste. I was surprised when I saw that 30-40% of food produced globally is never eaten, and the hundreds of thousands of tons of non-recyclable materials produced in a year.

So, I had to do something about it, using my art to make more people aware of these problems. I wanted to come up with a series that could represent properly the impact of the man on nature. The term "Still Life" came to mind. "Still Life" is a type of art that was quite popular in the 16th century that mostly represents “inanimate objects”, such as flowers, dead animals, plants.


However, I couldn't use the same old term, I needed something modern, which could have been appropriate for these days. Once again, a new term came to mind, and this time around this was "Pop".

As we know the "Pop" movement became quite popular in the second part of the 20th century, and one of the key drivers was "consumerism". The words "Pop" and "Still Life" started to sound perfect to me. In that moment my "Pop Still Life" series was born. All the paintings that are part of this series focus on the main environmental issues: from pollution, plastic, global warming to food waste.


These pieces are produced using waste materials such as tapes, inks, plastic bags, bottle caps, and papers. However, the main tool used to produce my figurations is a sliced lemon or orange. I source these lemons and oranges from local shops, when they don’t sell or expire. As we know all foods last for a shorter period of time and if they don’t sell, shops usually throw these away. My sliced lemons and oranges are, therefore, the symbol of the modern society that keeps wasting, and no longer live sustainably.

 

What does zero waste beauty mean to you?


For me zero waste beauty means more clarity from producers so consumers can make more informed decisions. The cosmetic industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, and even in the green beauty industry we still often see non-sustainable packaging such as plastic. Therefore, when we think about zero waste beauty the first thing which pops into our head is usually packaging. However, it is equally important to look at the manufacturing process of the product.


How much waste was produced during this creation process? What steps did the manufacturer take to limit the production waste?


For instance in my case, I have opened Bottega Zero Waste with the intention of creating zero waste beauty products, such as handmade soaps. I only work with suppliers that are able to send certain ingredients in lower impact materials such as recycled paper or tin, or that accept plastic bottles return whenever they cannot ship in alternative materials. This allows me to reduce waste during the manufacturing of this particular zero waste beauty product, and ultimately allows my customers to make more conscious choices when buying beauty products.

 

Why do you think it contributes to a green living?


Switching to a zero waste beauty routine can really make you change the way you live in general. You will soon realise you do not need as many beauty products but is the essential that really counts. You will learn that a simple soap bar can be used to wash your body, face and even hair as opposed to have an overcrowded bathroom with single use plastic products that serve each purpose. A true zero waste beauty product has also been manufactured with attention to reducing waste during the production process, therefore contributing to a greener planet.

 

Daily activity and habits and how they contribute to a more sustainable world


Green living for me starts with our smallest daily actions. I will give you an example. In my office there is a food area where they provide compostable plastic cups at lunch time. Instead of using their single use cup every day, I bring my own mug or jar which I will be using for the whole day. Plastic is not necessarily the “enemy” but instead if the single use mentality that needs to be banned if we want to live a sustainable life. Buying your groceries locally and package free is another way to live more sustainably. Check out local farmers market or bulk stores for dry goods. Regarding health and wellness, support small, local businesses that are making that extra effort to provide high quality, zero waste beauty products. Finally, cycle when you can! It can reduce the stress of commuting, it’s great for your health and the environment.

 

Anything you can improve in living sustainably, any goals for 2019?


We’d like to make more use of return schemes, both as a consumer and as a manufacturer. This means buying products that come in returnable packaging. I’d like to start offering this option to my clients on my shop. It is still a more expensive option at the moment but my hope is that with demand it will become the norm and the future of shipping. The goal is also to reduce waste from our lives even more by keeping buying local fruit and vegetables and discover more products that we cannot find zero waste at the moment - such as pasta, very essential to Italians living abroad!

 

Tell us about your daily activities and habits and how they might contribute to a more sustainable world?


Yes, follow the 5 R's rule – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot. As a first step simply mean to refuse the unnecessary and the single use items. Reduce the amount of things you need and start living a simpler and more minimalist lifestyle - soap is a great example! Reuse what you have already instead of buying shiny new “zero waste items”, and always try to give a new life to an item if you can. For example, I always reuse the glass jars from marmalades as they are perfect to store some of my handmade beauty products. If you end up with any non-reusable materials, make sure you recycle them properly by washing them and disposing them correctly. And, the end of the cycle, “rot”. If you have something that cannot be reused, then make sure it is compostable and can go back into our earth without producing any damage to it.

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