The Story behind the Art, My Less Single-Use Plastic Year Long Journey

Who is Juliana?

I define myself first and foremost as a mom, because although my children are now adults, I feel that motherhood has been the most meaningful, wonderful, and defining venture of my life. I look forward to future grandchildren and hope that I can do my tiny part by offering my gifts to a world that needs change. 
Second, I am an artist and former art teacher. Digital Fine Art Photographer, entrepreneur, and nature lover. You can learn more about my fine art by visiting my personal portfolio
My goal was to complete one Less Single-Use Plastic design each day during 2022. I am proud to say that I stuck with that goal. The last 63 designs are the National Park designs. 
How it began...
I  had been looking for a purpose after my children headed off to college. I was looking for a way I could use my gifts for good in the world. I went back to my educational roots in art and design. I began brushing up on my skills and exploring new ways of being creative by incorporating Digital Fine Art Photography. I spent a few years volunteering my time to create graphic projects for good causes. With nature being a core value of mine, I used my spare time to read, watch, and listen to others who were offering wonderful gifts to the world. There are many, but a few that resonated most with me were:
    • Braiding Sweetgrass, Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. This book eloquently awakened me to the idea of reciprocity for mother earth. 
    • The Book of Hope; A survival Guide for Trying Times by Jane Goodall, Douglas Abrams, Gail Hudson. This book helped me to take action on the area I felt was most meaningful and accessible to me right now. Thank you for offering hope and awakening me to the idea that taking action, even tiny individual ones every day can have an impact.
    • My Octopus Teacher is a documentary film directed by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed. Thank you for sharing this personal story through beautiful art. This touched my heart and made me even more thankful for our beautiful natural world.  
"Reciprocity", the theme of Braiding Sweetgrass, was a word that kept resonating with me. What could I give back, I wondered? I started to critically look at my choices and ask questions. "How can I make an impact by making changes even if they are small, even if they are not perfect?" I thought I didn't need to be plastic-free or perfect, I could simply choose to use LESS. In fact, over the past three years, I had been making small changes toward that goal, and I realized I had a lot more room for growth. Could I STOP & THINK more closely about the packaging of an item before putting it in my cart?
One morning, out of the BLUE, the idea for the logo came to me, as I was waking, I could see it, the "less than" symbol (<) and (S U P) Less Single-Use Plastic.
Carefree, but clear and concise, I designed this logo to serve as a “useful suggestion” and a practical reminder to consistently make good choices.
Then I started creating the design and expanding my idea. I was so excited because I knew that this was what I was meant to focus on NOW. By doing so, I could give back.
Then another idea about a logo came to mind, a logo with a "greater than" symbol (>), and I thought, about more "Luv". Yes! By using Less Single-Use Plastic, we give so much more love to the planet.

Juliana worked on creating the designs and creating where these logos were placed on t-shirts, water bottles, and tote bags to help encourage everyone to choose less plastic.  
Toward the end of this journey to create the 365 designs, something very serendipitous happened that I would like to share:
"I started to think about how many more designs I needed to create to reach my goal.
1. I added up all of the designs that were in the sketch stage that needed polishing.
2. I added all of the states left to do in the "United States Series".
3. I counted 63 designs left. I had an idea that perhaps I would also do National Parks. I looked up National Parks not knowing how many there are and guess what? EXACTLY 63!"
So that is how she began working on this unique collection. 
 These works were the culmination of this year-long independent project by Juliana2me to help the earth by encouraging people to use less plastic. She reached her goal by creating 365 designs, the last of which are the 63 National Parks.
"I am so excited to share one of the new series of designs I have created. The Series is called: The Essence of Place: 63 National Parks" They are the final 63 of the 365 Less Single-Use Plastic Design project. I became so excited to work on these that I jumped ahead and into this series. These works of art will be available as Fine Art Prints on canvas that are made from recycled plastic bottles or on eco-friendly fine art paper. They will be available framed or ready to frame.
This is Yosemite by Artist/Designer Juliana2me  his is Yellowstone-by Artist/Designer Juliana2me
“I am so very proud of these works. I truly believe that they are the culmination of the entire year-long full-time journey I have been on with the Less Single-Use Plastic project which seems to have taken on a life of it's own.
I have always been both an artist and a designer. I was never able to decide between the two, but this series feels like a melding of my two styles and I feel as though it has an authenticity about it that would not have been possible unless I took this journey to seek where it was leading. 
I also feel enthusiastic about the completion of my goal of 365 designs for Less Single-Use Plastic and I do indeed hope that this body of work continues to inspire and encourage less plastic, more conservation, and more awareness. This is why I am donating 10% of every sale of prints to back to conservation-minded organizations and movements."

I truly believe people are motivated by positivity. I think I witnessed this closely through my experience as a teacher. As a teacher, I often felt like a guide and a witness. Most of the growth I would see in a student came from when I would positively encourage them.
I love the feeling of knowing that I am part of that growth process. With the Less Single-Use Design project, I had a similar objective. I hoped that these designs would encourage others to make changes in their purchasing patterns. My intention was to give the message in a fun and positive way. Of course, I do realize that the situation is grave and that the consequence of the plastics in our environment is alarming, but I think if we focus on the negative we can easily fall into a state of inertia. We can just "give up" and feel powerless and think that our individual small actions don't matter. I believe that it is just human nature. We are inspired when we think our actions ARE making difference. We also can feel empowered by seeing that we can not only change our own habits but inspire others to do the same.
With this project now behind me in 2023 I am focusing on the National Park Designs, but I have not forgotten my path and this is why I choose to offer eco-friendly prints and also why I offer zerowaste framing options. I also continue on my own personal journey of trying to choose less plastic, and I still post the designs to @less_single_use_plastic.
- Juliana2me