Have A Nice Day

In the mid-19th century, the English botanist Anna Atkins used cyanotype photo printing to create albums of seaweed and other dried algae. Considering the breadth of ocean plant life that she documented from English shorelines, I asked what we can readily find along the coast and in our cities today that conveys the 21st century environment. Have A Nice Day (2020) is a series of cyanotypes that lays bare the plastic bags we encounter every day, along with the messaging they carry.

“This Bag Is Recyclable.”
“Please Return To A Participating Store For Recycling.”
“This bag is made from at least 20% recycled material.”
Touching on our consumer guilt for sending more plastic to the landfill, these phrases tell us what we want to hear; that there is a way out of this resource-intensive cycle if we simply recycle our bags. From a certain light, this marketing is ingenious. It moves the responsibility for today's unfathomable quantity of plastic bags from the large corporations that produce them to us, the people who consume them. But it is the companies who steer global supply chains, with their multi-billion dollar buying power and massive manufacturing operations that must be held accountable to radically change their ways in the face of the climate crisis.

Have A Nice Day is printed on handmade papers of kozo and gampi fibers from the oldest of Japanese papermaking traditions. Cyanotype is an archival photographic process which uses sensitized paper and UV light to develop a photo negative in water, creating a deep cyan-blue image. The materials and colors of these prints create a connection to plant-based production and the ocean waters that early scientists explored, while featuring contemporary messaging which charges the consumer with the proper disposal of the modern engineering marvel, the common plastic bag.

Have A Nice Day: Recyle This Bag
22.5 x 30.5 inches
Cyanotype on handmade paper of kozo and gampi fibers


Harvard Staff Art Show, Countway Library (Boston, MA)
Inspiring Change for the Climate Crisis
, CAA @ Canal: Cambridge Art Association (Cambridge, MA), curated by Adriana G. Prat for i3C Artists
Inspiring Change for the Climate Crisis
, Brickbottom Gallery: Brickbottom Artists Association (Somerville, MA), curated by Adriana G. Prat for i3C Artists