Jon Foreman is a creator of various styles of Land Art, continuously in search of the “different.” He began his journey making Land Art/Sculpture while in college but he feels his creative play with materials and innovative ideas is something which started long before. Most of his work takes place in an already beautiful setting such as the Pembrokeshire coastline. Having grown up there he saw the beauty of the coastline and woodlands and made use of them by collaborating with nature itself.
The scale of his work varies massively; he may use stones or driftwood to make something small and minimal. Otherwise he may be seen drawing massive scale sand drawings up to 50 metres across. His work is ephemeral in many differing ways; Most often the weather and immediate climate will make his work disappear (be blown down/washed away by the tide), and sometimes other people will interfere. This is all part of the creative process and has proven to benefit his work. Jon’s practice is not just something he enjoys but it is also a therapy for him, an escape from the stresses of everyday life.
“I create using many natural materials but stone has proven to be the material which I can manipulate best. Be it color, angle, shape, size, placement, spacing,” Foremansaid. “Typically, I either start with a rough idea of what I’d like to do or no idea whatsoever! Then I collect what I can carry and start by placing stone by stone, steadily losing myself in the process and disconnecting from the stress of everyday life.”
Foreman said land art presents more to him as an artist than, say, drawing or painting. “There are endless possibilities. Not only that but there are endless environments to work in, each and every one different to the next. Getting out and creating work has a profound effect on my mental health. It keeps my mind healthy and content.”
Foreman really took his work to the next level in 2018 when he participated in the Llano Earth Art Fest. “There, I met around 30 artists whom I have known online for years but never met in person. This festival is responsible for so much development in the field and I am extremely grateful for it. Partly due to this festival, land art has developed a really tight and positive community in the last few years.”
However, their community has been targeted by news articles which, as far as Foreman can tell, have been nothing more than opinions. In fact, he knows one of them from The Guardian which even stated at the top of the text that it was an opinion. “Many people read it then took it to be fact. These articles claim that what we create is damaging to the environment and creatures that may be living there. I absolutely oppose this as we are creating work with nature and if anything, we do it to show that it needs protecting.”
“Just as an example, these stone creations are made only a few feet away from where I collected them. The tide then comes and washes them back to where they came from. How is that damaging?” the artist asked. “Any creatures that live in this environment (I almost never come across any) will be used to such turbulent conditions and me moving rocks will make no difference at all. The creatures that do live in these conditions will not be settling down to make homes. They are constantly moving like the tide does.”
“Take a step away from the outdoors. Look at the materials around you. Where have they come from? The batteries that are in our phones/laptops are made from materials that have been mined from the ground. The cars we drive, the paper we use, the art supplies I would otherwise be using if I wasn’t using materials outdoors. All this is more damaging to the environment than anything I do.”