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London collective 'NeverLabel' on the power of carbon negative art

  • 3 min read

NeverLabel is a newly formed collective of artists, designers and technologists. They have come together to turn their love of creativity into a means to get people talking about the issues we all face as a society. Their multi-disciplined practice allows them to use innovative technologies and techniques to find new ways to create work that matters. We were lucky enough to speak with NeverLabel to discuss their formation, carbon neutral art, and their new print 'Mother, Earth'. 

Mother, Earth by NeverLabel

 

AR: Tell us a little about who you are? 


We’re NeverLabel, a newly formed London based collective. We came together through our love of creativity as a means to get people talking about the issues we face as a society. Our practice is multi-disciplined, so we are whatever we need to be to make something matter.



AR: What inspired you to create ‘Mother, Earth’?


During lockdown, we started to see the biggest carbon crash ever recorded. The estimated results of ‘The Great Pause’ is estimated to have reduced emissions this year by 4-8%, that’s somewhere between 2 and 3 billion tonnes. 


It has demonstrated what a global response could do for climate change, but although this pandemic dwarves all previous shocks to the energy world by some distance, we still need to find a way of achieving this type of drop – without the aid of a pandemic – every year, for the next 30 years in order for us to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.



AR: Tell us about the print?


We wanted to start a conversation by putting an emphasis on how a simple pause can have a massive impact on our relationship with mother nature. No longer can nature mother us, but collectively we need to shift our mindset to ‘mother’ nature instead. So we decided to create the world's first carbon-negative screenprint.



AR: How is this print made?


This carbon-negative print is printed with two screens using Algae Ink, a sustainable ink created by pulling carbon out of the air. They are printed onto a carbon-neutral paper that is FSC certified 100% recycled fibre. Each print is delivered by UPS Carbon Neutral Parcel Service.

AR: Is it really carbon negative?


The ink alone for this limited edition print has saved 2.76kg of CO2 from our air. The paper is also carbon-neutral, FSC certified and made with 100% recycled fibre.


Mother, Earth, a carbon negative print by NeverLabel

 

AR: What does this mean for artists?


We got thinking about our own carbon usage and discovered that most of the black inks & paints which artists use are made from burning fossil fuels. We probably should have realised given their names — Carbon black, furnace black, lamp black — not only are these very bad for the environment, but they are also carcinogenic. Again linking this back to the pandemic, lockdown also resulted in 11,000 fewer deaths from air pollution in Europe alone.

After a couple of false starts whilst looking for an alternative, we found Algae Ink from Living Ink which is a sustainable, bio-based and safe carbon black alternative that absorbs atmospheric carbon dioxide, “locking” that carbon in the ink.

 

AR: Why is this print so important right now?


As Sir David Attenborough said himself on moving to Instagram recently, “Saving our planet is now a communications challenge”. This is why we have chosen to do a typographic piece that focuses on the power of a simple pause. We are inviting the viewer to keep this print as their very own carbon bank and a reminder of their carbon usage.

 

Check out NeverLabel here.

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