Environmental Artist

Produce art to promote environmental causes.

What does an Environmental Artist do?

An Environmental Artist can refer to very different lines of work. In entertainment, it is most commonly used as a title in the gaming industry, although Environmental Artists are used in film as well. Fine Artists who focus on environmental issues also sometimes term themselves Environmental Artists.

In games, Environment Artists work with 2-D and 3-D art packages to design and illustrate entire game levels or realms. Some work on backgrounds only, while others working on modeling and animating characters.

In the film industry, Environmental Artists were once (and still sometimes are) simply called Matte Painters. If something is shot on a lot, but a different background is desired, an Environmental Artist will draw or paint an image on a computer or, traditionally, on glass. They then combine the images with the film to make their work appear unified with the live-action portion of the frame. Some of the most famous and earliest matte paintings or ‘environments’ are those of Xanadu in Citizen Kane, and of the Emerald City sparkling in the distance as Dorothy and her troupe emerge from the forest in the Wizard of Oz.

Finally, the title Environmental Artist has come to reference a Fine Artist who focuses their work on environmental issues. This could take the form of making pieces out of recycled materials, or using artwork to give voice to an environmental issue.