Ecotopian Library
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John Sabraw and Guy Riefler                                           
Pigment from Extracted Toxic Acid Mine Drainage, 2018                                                      
Paint pigment from extracted toxic acid mine drainage (AMD) from polluted streams.   
Courtesy of the artist and collaborator Guy Riefler

"I became inspired to transform the toxic sludge after moving to Ohio. While touring the southern part of the state with sustainability group “Kanawha”, I was struck by the colors of the local streams – orange, red and brown, as if from a mudslide. The polluted water contained iron oxide, which was flowing freely from abandoned coal mines. I thought it would be fantastic to use this toxic flow to make paintings rather than with imported synthetic iron oxides. It turned out that environmental engineer and fellow Ohio University professor Guy Riefler had already been working to create viable paint from this toxic sludge; so we began collaborating." - John Sabraw