Human Nature

Marissa Woods
Sophomore – Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design


Sculpture/mixed media


“Human Nature” is a mixed media sculpture meant to highlight the human relationship between conservation and pollution. It was handmade from entirely recycled, recyclable, and compostable components. The use of these materials is important, keeping the process of creating artwork sustainable to work alongside the message. The human face placed in the center of the trash can is meant to convey the realization of the effects of pollution on our earth.

I chose to center my piece around conservation, which is extremely important to me. I am a U of M sustainability ambassador and constantly seek ways to be environmentally friendly. I wanted to focus this piece on the human relationship to how we pollute the environment. I wanted to show in my artwork how by polluting the planet, humans are really just harming themselves. I represented this by hand-sewing a human head and placing it in the middle of the garbage. I chose to create an expression of almost shock or disgust in the man’s head as he sits in the center. I want the head to be the primary focus of the work. This garbage has been sourced from entirely recycled materials. These are materials that I have used the contents of and saved over time. The entire piece is recyclable when it no longer has a use. The work is mixed media, with many different components. There are recycled boxes, bottles, straw wrappers, fabrics, yarns, etc. I used cardboard to create the garbage can. Throughout my process, I chose not to use a lot of supplies based on their level of sustainability. For example, I did not want to incorporate acrylic paint into my work because it is primarily made of plastics, which do not decompose over time. I chose to fill the head with scrap fabric instead of new stuffing. Stuffing is usually also plastic. I want to bring awareness to the concept of sustainability as well as the environmental impact that humans are creating. In order to do this, I feel as if I need to be practicing sustainability in my own processes. The process in a way becomes a huge part of the artwork itself.