Design School students celebrate Earth Day through illustrated mural
As rising temperatures across the world offer a stark reminder of the climate crisis, our community continues to channel its creativity into envisioning alternative futures in ways that inspire real change.
In April, students from across London College of Communication (LCC) aimed to highlight ecological issues and honour the planet by commemorating Earth Day – an international celebration that marks the achievements of the environmental movement while raising awareness of the need to protect natural resources for future generations.
This year, activities were coordinated across UAL through the Climate Emergency Network, which connects staff and students through conversations, collaborations and creative action. Themed around the concept of ‘taking a seat at the table’, a diverse programme of events aimed to generate collective experiences in the name of social and ecological justice, inviting audiences to share both grief and joy from the past few tumultuous years, providing a space to ‘mend, mould, plot and plan’.
Activities at LCC ranged from film screenings, book clubs and zine-making workshops to lectures, live drawing and archival displays, which were also accompanied by a design project briefing with acclaimed climate activist Love Ssega and a vegan feast presented as a ‘Banquet of Imagination’.
BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media students Sun Woo Kim, Megan Cox, Morgan Morrell, Axel Espana Flores and Cass File also brought colour to the LCC Building through a live drawing project entitled Community Earth, which was first ideated as part of their Diploma in Professional Studies (DPS). Working as a creative collective, Collective Canvas, they developed a window mural which aimed to create social impact through the power of individual images.
We caught up with Sun Woo to discuss the importance of commemorating Earth Day, her experience of developing a public-facing work, and highlights from her time at LCC so far.
Tell us about your creative practice.
I specialise in exploring visual language to make changes in society.
Sustainability and mental health issues are the main themes in my work, and the mediums I use vary from traditional printing to 3D animation.
Why were you motivated to get involved with Earth Day?
Earth Day 2022 perfectly aligned with the launch of Collective Canvas: a collective of illustrators from London College of Communication who believe in collaboration and the power of visual language.
We had an amazing opportunity to paint a window mural at LCC thanks to UAL's Climate Emergency Network and the DPS society. Through this project, we were reminded of the power of creative collaboration.
How did you contribute to Earth Day activities at LCC?
As a group, Collective Canvas collaboratively designed and painted the mural while contributing our own individual ideas and styles.
We designed the mural to celebrate Earth Day by bringing green to Elephant and Castle and creating a space for conversation. Our final work questions ownership of the earth by leaving the human figure blank, which invites the audience to become a gardener of our planet.
The project was also about continuity in actions. Over the course of 3 weeks, our audiences engaged with the message by taking photos in front of the mural and sharing them via #everydayisearthday on social media.
What were the highlights of your experience?
As mural painting is an outdoor activity, the process of developing our work meant that we were exposed to creative minds at LCC as well as the greater public.
This exposure created an audience of people who were both willing and eager to engage with the subject of Earth Day across issues ranging from sustainability to conservation. They shared their ideas for future collaborations and expressed their happiness and excitement at what we'd achieved.
There was lots of room to feel positivity and hope, and we’re looking forward to future projects which will enable us to continue conveying messages through our artwork.
What have you most enjoyed about your time at LCC so far?
Connecting with other creatives through the LCC community has been the most valuable part of my experience, I think.
I’ve been able to meet hundreds of illustrators through my course, each with their unique styles. Throughout my DPS year, I was also able to meet students from other disciplines such as graphic design, spatial design and photography.
Overall, I think having the opportunities to collaborate on creative projects with them has been the best experience during my time at LCC.