Toxic/Nature Studios

VIRTUAL EXHIBITION

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Toxic/Nature Studios features environmental photography that celebrates the majesty of nature and laments its demise, in small moments. Using close-up macro techniques, the photographs express my appreciation for and concern about the environment.

As we become increasingly distracted by our devices, we tend to overlook small disasters beneath our feet.  Likewise, we can fail to notice the beautiful moments present in nature.  I explore these concepts in the “Toxic” and “Nature” galleries on my website ToxicNature.com.  Beauty can also be found in the rust, decay, and textures of everyday objects, which I highlight in the “Manufactor” gallery, found on the website as well.

All photos are taken by me, Scott Schneider, with an iPhone, thereby leveraging the power of technology to observe rather than to distract.  I take photos every day, no matter where I am or what I’m doing.  I don’t go out to take pictures; I take pictures because I’m out.

From my photographs, I create archival, digital pigment prints using environmentally friendly inks on bamboo paper, which is highly sustainable.

In addition to my photos, I have crafted a series of sculptural pieces which I’m calling “3D(isasters).”  This thought-provoking artwork is designed to challenge the viewer to make sense of the quantity of litter displayed in a #finditfillit container.

I never could have imagined that someone who takes photos with an iPhone could be taken seriously in the artworld.  However, in addition to this show at the Coral Springs Museum of Art, Toxic Nature Studios is currently exhibiting at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability.

I hope that my art will inspire others to notice the world around them and to take action to preserve its natural beauty.  We can’t do this while plugged in and tuned out. That’s why I ask viewers to unplug, look around, and get the small picture. By turning off our blinders of technology, and noticing the small detail of a piece of litter, a fallen petal, or an interesting bit of rust, we can then look up and notice the big picture, which is that the world needs our help.

The Instagram account @toxicnaturestudios spreads awareness through my art. Its sister account, @5pieces_a_day, encourages others to pick up litter, as I do, thereby noticing and improving the environment.

Furthering my mission, a portion of sales is donated to charities that focus on protecting the environment.

Unplug. Look around. Get the small picture.

Scott Schneider

Toxic/Nature Studios’ Mastermind, Photographer, 3D Artist, and Chief Litter Picker

Q & A with TOXIC/NATURE STUDIOS

Why did you decide to become an artist?

 “Proud to be an American” was one of my very first toxic photos ever.  When I saw how beautiful it was framed in a large size, it inspired me to continue to try and find the beauty in the ugliness of litter.  That was the first time I thought, this could be something.

Image:
Proud to be an American
40″ x 50″
2013
Archival Digital Pigment Print on Hahnemüle Bamboo Paper
$1,250

Are your shots staged or completely natural?

I don’t set up a time and a place to do a photo shoot.  I take photos every day, no matter where I am or what I am doing.  I don’t go out to take pictures; I take pictures because I’m out. I photograph things as I find them, with very little editing, if any.

Image:
Keep a Lid on It
50″ x 50″
2016
Archival Digital Pigment Print on Hahnemüle Photorag Ultrasmooth
$1,500

Why have you decided to photograph with an iPhone rather than some other device?

All photos are taken by me with an iPhone, thereby leveraging the power of technology to observe rather than to distract.  Simply stated, when I’m out, I like to look around and notice things that others might not, and then use my iPhone to capture the small moment.  Why do I use a phone camera?  Because I believe the best camera that you have is the one that you have with you.  It’s so easy for me to notice something, take out my phone and shoot.  And it’s easy to look at the photos later to see if any have made the cut.

Image:
A Prickly Situation
32″ x 40″
2019
Archival Digital Pigment Print on Hahnemüle Bamboo Paper
$750

Do you have a favorite place or site to photograph?

No, not really.  Toxic/Nature Studios features environmental photography that celebrates the majesty of nature and laments its demise, in small moments.  Using close up macro techniques, the photographs express my appreciation for and concern about the environment, wherever I am.

Image:
Orange Crush
44″ x 56″
Archival Digital Pigment Print

What sort of challenges do you face as an environmental photographer?

Due to the unpredictable elements in nature, I never know what will catch my eye. The bright sunlight or drops of dew might bring my attention to something I had not noticed before.  Contrarily, the darkness might provide an opportunity for #accidentalart, as was the case with “Fallen Angels.”  I originally took this photo because I loved the interesting way that the paper was folded.  Since it was almost dark when I took it, it wasn’t until much later that I noticed the detail of the two girls in the photo.

Image:
Fallen Angels
32″ x 40″
2015
Archival Digital Pigment Print on Hahnemüle Bamboo Paper
$750

Can you talk about the 3D(isaster) Gallery?

In addition to my photos, I have crafted a series of sculptural pieces which I’m calling “3D(isasters).”  This thought-provoking artwork is designed to challenge the viewer to make sense of the quantity of litter displayed in a #finditfillit container.

Image:
The Sprill Canvas
11″ x 13″ x 26″
2019
Picked up litter spilling out of a #FindItFillIt bucket
$1,250

Do you have a new project you are currently working on?

I’m currently exhibiting my photography at the Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability.  Also, “Our Drinking Water,” from the 3D(isaster) Gallery is scheduled to be on display at the Detroit Zoological Society.  And I have some more 3D(isaster) pieces in the works.  As I take photos every day, there are always new projects.  When I took “Love & Madness,” I was actually in the Coral Springs Museum of Art parking lot.  I was having my first meeting with Executive Director, Julia Andrews.  I walked in and said, “Here is the latest photo from Toxic/Nature Studios.”

Image:
Love & Madness
32″ x 40″
2018
Archival Digital Pigment Print on Hahnemüle Bamboo Paper
$750

Do you have a favorite photo you have taken?

“(Nothing But) Flowers” is one of my favorites.  The minute I took it, I knew it was going to be incredible.  It has all the attributes of my three galleries, Toxic, Nature, and Manufactor.  This photo was taken in New York City’s Garment District, about a block away from where I used to work.

Image:
(Nothing But) Flowers
52″ x 64″
2018
Archival Digital Pigment Print on Hahnemüle Photorag Ultrasmooth
$1,800

What is the thinking behind your Gallery named Manufactor?

I made up the word “manufactor” to describe the rust, decay and textures of everyday objects.  I don’t include photos of these in the Toxic Gallery because they are not litter.  You might be asking yourself, “What do Manufactor photos have to do with the term “Toxic Nature?”  Toxic/Nature Studios is all about noticing the world around you.

Image:
Chemical Peel
40″ x 50″
2018
Archival Digital Pigment Print on Hahnemüle Bamboo Paper
$1,250

How do you come up with your titles?

A title like “Not a Jelly Fish,” is meant not only to describe the photo but also to evoke deeper feelings about our impact on the environment.  And sometimes I like to think of clever or funny names for my artwork using a song title or a popular turn of phrase.

Image:
Not a Jellyfish
32″ x 40″
2017
Archival Digital Pigment Print on Hahnemüle Bamboo Paper
$750

Do you have any amusing stories from when you are photographing?

It’s a funny thing.  People often look at me strangely.  Wondering what I’m doing, I guess.  Sometimes they look at me like I’m homeless, taking pictures and picking up trash.  One time, I was walking in New York City with my bucket and my litter picker, and a cab driver pulled up and offered me money.

Image:
Staying Power
32″ x 40″
2017
Archival Digital Pigment Print on Hahnemüle Bamboo Paper
$750

Anything you would like to say to the viewer?

I hope that my art will inspire others to notice the world around them and to take action to preserve its natural beauty.  We can’t do this while plugged in and tuned out.  That’s why I ask viewers to unplug, look around, and get the small picture.  By turning off our blinders of technology, and noticing the small detail of a piece of litter, a fallen petal, or an interesting bit of rust, we can then look up and notice the big picture, which is that the world needs our help.

Image:
Staying Power
52″ x 64″
2017
Archival Digital Pigment Print on Hahnemüle Photorag Ultrasmooth
$1,800

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