Bio Pigments Atelier


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- story by MaterialDistrict

The contemporary art world finds itself in a strange situation nowadays. On one hand, contemporary art stands for the new; on the other, it’s become an old and saturated place. Galleries aren’t investing in the sustainable creation of art or motivating the artists to push in this direction.

The project Bio Pigments atelier aims to change this paradigm. It is a project that revolves around creating your own paints and, in this case, a collection of paintings made with micro-algae pigments. The paintings were made using two distinct techniques. The first one is based on the beeswax technique, something designer Marius Melissas found while researching ancient Egyptian art. He found it fascinating how this technique, thousands of years old, is still perfectly applicable today, yet rarely used.

The second technique is based on using agar-agar, a component that is derived from algae. Making a bioplastic with it as a way of locking the pigments into the canvas. Using the agar-agar technique demands a lot of pre-mixing and setting up, once everything is in place to pour the medium, it must go fast because the bioplastic film forms quite quickly. This forces the artist to paint in an immediate, unhesitating, and intuitive manner, which corresponds exactly to what Melissas sought to create and the style of painting he enjoys. Since he had to proceed with a lot of trial and error, experimenting with all the combinations of pigments in their correctly proportioned quantities and carefully documenting them to achieve a functional paint, it felt very liberating for him to finally put the paints to artistic use.

The main goal was to make painting a regenerative practice, not something that uses finite resources as its building block. Artistic creation is said to be one of the most important things for humans, but we aren’t investing in making this specific practice natural. The practice can be expanded to a lot of new resources and mediums that are yet to be discovered as well. With Bio Pigments Atelier, Melissas intended to take a small first step in creating more awareness around this issue and bring change to the art of our own time.

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