Art from the heart

Creative freelancer Georgia Grundy of GMG Creative talks us through her sustainable art

Georgia Grundy is a triplethreat - she is an avid artist, photographer and food creator. But Georgia pursues all these skills in as sustainable a manner as she possibly can, and in turn, spreads awareness of both the vegan movement and the importance of protecting our environment. We chat to the passionate plant-based creative to find out more.

Tell us about your vegan journey.

My vegan journey began in 2015, when I ditched red meat and poultry overnight after seeing harsh footage of the agricultural industry. I started as a pescatarian, then in 2017, I went vegetarian after learning more about the negative impacts of fishing.

I did my first Veganuary in 2019 and went full vegan later that year. I've always LOVED cooking, so I've enjoyed exploring new ingredients and the overall learning experience that has come with it.

I began a vegan food blog in 2016, Life Without Meat (@life.without.meat), which has been a way for me to support others on their journey with tasty recipes, tips and advice.

Since committing to a sustainable, vegan lifestyle, I'm incredibly passionate about everything it stands for. In the last couple of years, I've become more mindful of ways to reflect these values in my professional life, focusing on meaningful work that positively impacts others.

Alongside my food blog, I've combined these passions with my multi-layered creativity to offer bespoke ethical wedding photography, vegan cakes and art commissions at GMG Creative.

I'm a firm believer that no individual or other species should suffer so we can express ourselves creatively and succeed in business.

Central to the ethos of all my work is to provide individuals with an accessible opportunity to support ethical and sustainable methods that are vegan and cruelty-free.

Tell us about your vegan journey.Talk us through the sustainable and vegan materials you use to create your work. Why are most art materials not vegan or good for the planet?

I ensure my business is, as far as is possible and practicable, vegan and cruelty-free. I use online communication, recyclable/ biodegradable packaging, reusable tools and digital delivery where possible to reduce my business's carbon footprint.

Veganism is key in cakes for obvious reasons, but also in artwork. Many high end art suppliers use animal ingredients because their production methods are based on traditional recipes which stem back hundreds of years.

For example, paints, colour pigments, mediums, and even papers used in artwork may contain bone char, gelatine, ox gall, rabbit collagen, beeswax, carmine and shellac. Natural paintbrushes are made from the hair of sables, pigs and squirrels.

However, traditional doesn't necessarily mean better, and I believe a good artist can make do with whatever tools are available. Therefore, researching the best veganfriendly alternatives is an integral part of my work to ensure these exploitative methods are avoided.

As veganism increases, many art suppliers provide information on which of their products are vegan friendly. It's becoming easier to see which products of specific brands are vegan and which are not.

For example, paints containing (black) colour pigment PBk9 (derived from burnt cattle bones) and Carmine (from crushed red beetles) are not vegan. However, most pigments are either synthetic, mineral, or metals, so it's easy to find an alternative.

Further examples of vegan materials I use include high-quality synthetic brushes instead of real hair and using vegan (and FSCapproved) papers like Canson or Strathmore.

\"Art is a visual expression of what we find meaningful in life\"

Tell us about your charitable donations for some of your artworks.

To maximise my input and support causes I believe in, I donate five per cent of my monthly profits to charity. I focus on charities that share the same values and passions as GMG Creative and offer 'spotlight donations' that pioneer social change.

Amidst the 2020 BLM protests, I hosted a charity fundraiser with a painting giveaway. I raised £305 for Show Racism The Red Card - an anti-racism educational charity - and am very grateful for everyone who donated.

Each donation entered you into a raffle to win a bespoke A2 watercolour piece named, 'The Butterfly of Solidarity & Change'. Butterflies are powerful representations of life with many cultures seeing them as a symbol of endurance, transformation and hope.

The piece symbolised the transformative power of using your voice in the fight for change and racial equality. I also have a series of abstract acrylics entitled CHAOS. These are inspired by the unpredictable times we've lived through as a result of COVID-19.

I used a roller and palette knife to apply the paint, creating layers of texture and colour contrast. For me, this symbolises the ups and downs and positives and negatives we've experienced since March 2020.

My thoughts have been with the most vulnerable children in the UK's society who have been without the support and the safety net of education.

Therefore, I'm donating 10 per cent from each piece to support the continued work of the NSPCC. Knowing I can use my artistry and craftmanship to help others and drive positive change is my biggest motive.

How useful is art in spreading awareness of animal, environmental and social injustices?

Art is a visual expression of what we find meaningful in life, and otherwise hard to articulate with words. Colours, technique, imagery and style can be used to achieve the mood and sentiment of the piece or collection.

In that respect, art provides a platform and opportunity to tell a story and spread awareness about what matters. Curating a personal art collection at home is another means of creative expression for showcasing different aspects of your personality and ideas that matter to you.

Admiring art allows us to think conceptually, abstractly and emotionally, but it also inspires connection, creativity, thoughts and meaningful discussion with friends and family.

A big part of sustainable living is making sure that the products we purchase - whether food, clothes or homewares - are ethically and sustainably sourced. Therefore, take time to learn about artists, their work and how they create as there is also meaning within their process.

Becoming more mindful about the longevity and quality of art we buy - and choosing pieces which speak our own values rather than trends - is key to sustaining a long-lasting collection which represents you and allows you to aesthetically share that with others.

For more from Georgia, visit gmg-creative.com and follow her on IG @gmg.creative


The lifestyle magazine written by vegans for vegans.