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Video: Turning pollution into art

 | Sep 30, 2013
Toxic art

Video: Turning pollution into art

Sep 30, 2013


Watch a well-known Appalachian pollutant become a work of art in this video showcasing a cross-disciplinary partnership between Associate Professor of Civil Engineering Guy Riefler and Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing John Sabraw.

Riefler’s process of capturing acidic seepage from abandoned coal mines and extracting dissolved iron and other precipitates creates a pigment base, which Sabraw mixes with various components to create oil-based and acrylic paints.

“I’m excited to find a way to pay for cleaning up some of the polluted streams in southeast Ohio,” said Riefler. “If we’re able to perfect this process, we’ll be able to clean up pollution that’s been here for decades.”

Sabraw has developed an entire series of artwork, dubbed Chroma, inspired by the environment and incorporating these paints, which the duo hope to eventually develop on an industrial scale.

“I think video is the best way to share the compelling and dynamic work that Guy and I are doing,” Sabraw said. “I’m most pleased by how the video conveys the true beauty in the process and our ultimate success -- sharing this unique and effective remediation cycle with the public,” he added.

Watch the magical transformation on the Russ College Youtube channel. Video produced by John Sabraw,, and Jacob Koestler,