Artist McKenzie introduces Eco-Friendly Fine Art Print Series

Artist McKenzie, one of the best selling charity fine artists in the
country, has announced her plans to release an ECO-FRIENDLY line of Art Prints
by Bruce Johnson, Environmental Consultant

Hollywood, California-May 2008-
“It is about time that we change the industry. Artists AND their Patrons
need to demand eco-friendly methods…Or NOTHING is going to change. I am
willing to lead the way,” says Artist McKenzie. 

“McKenzie is very passionate about the environment and has raised awareness
and funds for many green causes.  Her motto “Art Making a
Difference”  is truer than ever. McKenzie feels a need to use her art
to get the message out about the importance of protecting the environment- and
it has proven very effective so far.  I am sure that in a very short time
other artists and collectors will join her; and will cause a huge shift in the
way the business of Art Prints is done,” says her publicist.

Why the concern?

Just read this:

 The printing industry is the single largest air polluter and the
third-largest consumer of fossil fuels in the world after automobiles and steel
manufacturing. Nearly everyday trillions of gallons of water that must be
treated for its toxic chemical content is then released back into our water

Print vendors using traditional methods and products such as virgin-fiber
paper, petroleum-based inks, toxic solvents, and chlorine-bleached papers also
utilize adhesives, bindings, and foils for printing and packaging and can render
the final product un-recyclable. 

Also,  petroleum-based inks can cause lasting damage to the environment.
It can leach volatile organic compounds ( VOCs) 
which are known to cause cancer and birth defects into the ground.  It may
contaminate the soil, the groundwater, and ultimately the air.

Many of the solvents, shellacs, driers, and other solutions employed in
producing film, printing plates, and cleaning the presses are toxic pollutants
that can cause chronic health problems such as; kidney and liver damage, and
ultimately death among press operators.  This  according to the
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

All this and we haven’t even mentioned the impact on our forests! 

What is the answer? 

“Outrage…We live in a consumer-driven economy.  Companies will do
anything to fulfill demand and keep the lead in their industry.  This means
that the demand MUST be for eco-friendly printing methods and paper–and this
starts with the Artists and their Patrons,” says the McKenzie Gallery

Artist McKenzie is determined to have a product which itself is true to her
philosophy of conservation and sustainability. “We have searched 
for the right paper, ink, and environmentally friendly businesses to partner
with.  We hope that our collectors and supporters around the world will
join us in making a change that will eventually impact us all.”

Please visit
to view the Eco-Friendly Print Series and to read more about the McKenzie
Gallery’s efforts to protect the environment.  100% of the profits from the
website go to green and charitable causes.

Here are some tips to keep in mind: (Tips thanks to

1. Learn the lingo.

You’ll need to be familiar with industry jargon to appropriately select
environmentally friendly papers. Here are a few terms you’ll often see:

  • Virgin fiber—100-percent “pure” fiber from an original source
  • Post-consumer content—Waste recovered from consumers and recycled
  • VOCs—Volatile organic compounds (such as occur in petroleum-based
    printing ink)
  • PCF—Processed chlorine-free
  • TCF—Totally chlorine-free
  • ECF—Elemental chlorine-free

2. Preserve and conserve.

The Recycled Products Cooperative estimates that over 100 million trees are cut
each year to supply fiber for writing and printing papers in the United States.
This is not only detrimental to forests, but to air quality and water reserves
as well.

One way to preserve resources is to purchase recycled paper with high levels
of post-consumer content. Using recycled paper saves landfill space and
minimizes water and energy consumption. Check recycling symbols to see what
percentage of recycled fiber was used during the manufacturing process.

3. Think about ink.

Do you know how your printer disposes of unused ink? If you’re unsure, ask.
Petroleum-based inks leach VOCs—which cause cancer and birth defects—into
the soil when printed papers end up in landfills. These toxins can also be
released into the air as fresh inks dry.

Soy ink is an excellent alternative to petroleum based inks. Soy ink uses
soybean oil that’s naturally low in VOCs. This smart substitute is
sustainable, efficient, and cost-competitive. Many newspapers, magazines
(including this one), and other materials are now printed with soy ink.

4. Do it digitally.

 Digital is ideal for short-run, four-color work for business cards,
stationery, promotional pieces, and most print work that is less than 1,000
sheets of 14 x 20 inches.

This printing method even has advantages over soy inks. While soy is
comprised of 86-percent oil—which isn’t biodegradable—digital printing
uses 100-percent nontoxic toner. Toner-based inks also produce less chemical

5. Consider alternative papers.

Move over, pulp-based paper. A number of alternatives to traditional papers are
now available, and Barber recommends several “tree-free” varieties, such as
Denim Blues (100-percent reclaimed blue jean cotton), and synthetic papers by
Yupo because of their environmental attributes and durability.

For certain projects, Barber suggests papers made from Kenaf and hemp, and a
newer paper called TerraSkin, which is made from ground stone. “TerraSkin is
almost as strong as [synthetic] FedEx envelopes and it prints like a coated
sheet,” he says. It also uses less ink, and is nontoxic and waterproof.

6. Choose better bleaching solutions.

Brighter, whiter papers are created by various bleaching processes. It’s a
good idea to have a basic understanding of how manufacturers process their
products so that you can select the best, most environmentally friendly papers
for your projects.

Elemental chlorine was once extensively used to brighten paper products, but
now chlorine dioxide (used in swimming pools) is a common substitute. This
process yields ECF papers. Although chlorine compounds are safer than pure
chlorine, some pollution still results. Better choices include PCF and TCF
bleaching, which substitute oxygen-based compounds for chlorine compounds. Only
the recycled portion of a recycled sheet has been bleached with PCF. Fewer TCF
papers are available today because most papers contain some recycled content—TCF
relates only to 100-percent virgin papers.

Only products deemed acceptable by the Chlorine Free Products Association are
granted PCF and TCF emblems. Look for the symbols when purchasing recycled paper

7. Educate your clients.

Many companies today are concerned with producing print materials and packaging
made with sustainable resources. IBM, Coca-Cola, and Mc-Donald’s are just a
few major businesses making an effort to publish shareholder reports on
100-percent recycled post-consumer content. But not all clients are familiar
with “green” design and printing processes. You may find that you need to
act as an eco-friendly project advisor.

8. Practice what you preach.

Set a good example to convince others to follow your lead. Consider
incorporating these methods:

  • Conserve ink use by determining whether print projects need to be full
    color. Could a two-color design suffice instead?
  • Maximize ink staying power by substituting a Pantone color for metallic
    inks, which tend to degrade. (This reduces VOC emissions, too.)
  • Avoid wasting paper by designing to standard press sheet sizes (e.g., 23 x
    35, 25 x 38, 26 x 40, 28 x 40). If a job is large enough, your printer can
    order a special sheet size from the mill. Since paper is sold by the pound,
    this approach can also save your client money.

9. Offset cost with creativity.

Some environmentally friendly products may be a bit more expensive. It’s
important, however, not to view pricing issues as constraints. Instead, think
creatively to help balance benefits with costs.

Design multifunctional projects—e.g., self mailer/ program combos—to
economize when using more expensive paper. Also, combining projects whenever
possible is wise; one idea is to print business cards and postcards from the
same recycled paper. In the long run your clients may save money, and they’ll
also be honoring the environment.

10. Know industry standards.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates that federal agencies must
use uncoated printing and writing papers containing at least 30-percent
post-consumer content. Coated and commodity papers must contain a minimum of 10
percent. Consider using these guidelines when selecting paper for your projects,

Become familiar with other industry-issued standards. Important stamps of
approval include the emblems of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and
Chlorine Free Product Association (CFPA). For these symbols to appear on
products, they must meet specific standards determined by the International
Standards Organization (ISO).

11. Evaluate projects individually.

The first priority in design is to create an appealing, functional piece of
work. “It’s imperative to do good design from an aesthetic standpoint,”
Scalin says. But he also urges designers to consider options that will leave
behind less waste. “Lots of what’s designed is thrown in the trash. Using
recycled materials is necessary because so much is thrown away.”

If a client won’t switch to paper with a higher percentage of post-consumer
recycled content, try finding a way to reduce the number of pages used instead.
You might also recommend different paper types for different sections. For
example, some publications use high-quality coated paper for advertisements and
uncoated paper with higher post consumer content for editorial sections.

12. Stay informed.

Being environmentally responsible means staying current with new products and
practices. Check out the following to see what others are doing to help keep our
quality of life at a premium:

Conservation technology

  • Waterless pressesWater washable inks eliminate VOCs from the printing process.
  • Windmill energyThis alternative energy source produces nonpolluting, wind-generated energy
    to manufacture 100- percent post-consumer paper. Mohawk Paper is a leader.

Special interest groups

  • Compostmodern.comThis conference premiered in 2004 and is aimed at environmentally conscious
  • Business for Social ResponsibilityAnnual conference where designers can meet, see, and hear from business
    leaders concerned with social responsibility issues.
  • Graphic AllianceJoin a community of socially conscious designers.

Making a commitment to practice environmentally responsible design can be
challenging, but it’s doable and highly rewarding. Starting today will help
ensure a healthier quality of life for tomorrow.




~ by Alex Martoni on May 12, 2008.

2 Responses to “Artist McKenzie introduces Eco-Friendly Fine Art Print Series”

  1. Great article. Lots of interesting information. I use this Green Printer:
    Bruce Berenger

  2. Great to hear about an artist who is taking time to think about the environment and bring to light how the print industry is a major polluter. McKenzie’s web site also is promoting the use of more “green” forms of printing like soy based inks. I think her art is also very awesome. Take a look.
    The paintings have a sort of surreal look. Not just the same old stuff. They seem to glow.

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