Hyperrealistic Pastel Drawings Reveal How Climate Change Is Making Arctic Ice Move

Zaria Forman Brings Awareness to Climate Change in Her Soft Pastel Art

Jakobshavn Glacier, Greenland (in progress)

Artist Zaria Forman uses her immense creative talent to document the devastating effects of climate change. For many years, she has produced large-scale landscape drawings using soft pastels. Rendered in hyperrealistic detail, the images are an incredible yet poignant representation of the majesty of glaciers that are rapidly deteriorating, despite their awe-inspiring size, because the Earth is getting warmer.

Forman’s previous soft pastel art depicts forms that are instantly recognizable as glaciers and icebergs. But since then, she has shifted her pictorial focus—essentially zooming out on the landscape. Forman has spent the last two years traveling with NASA’s science missions to track how ice is moving. The result is a collection that highlights what she saw when flying hundreds of feet over Antarctica and the Arctic. Working with scientists also inspired her to draw in an even more precise way, while leaving the overall composition more abstract.

No matter the format, the heart of Forman’s work remains the same. Every drawing is an opportunity to communicate the alarming rate at which the polar regions are melting. By showing what we have to lose, she implores us to urgently act in ways that help combat climate change.

Forman’s latest work is included in her solo exhibition titled Overview at Winston Wächter Fine Art in New York City. It will be on view from October 25 to December 21, 2018. In addition, her piece titled Jakobshavn Glacier, Greenland has been donated to the Global Wildlife Conservation benefit with Christie’s Auction House. You can bid on the drawing until November 6, 2018. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale, along with matching funds, will help purchase and conserve cloud forest acreage in Central America.

Zaria Forman spent two years traveling with NASA’s science missions to track how ice is moving.

Soft Pastel Art by Zaria Forman

Jakobshavn Glacier, Greenland

The results are large-scale soft pastel art that shows the alarming rate at which the polar regions are melting.

Zaria Forman Climate Change Art

Lincoln Sea, Greenland (in progress)

Zaria Forman Climate Change Art

Arctic Ocean (Northwest off the coast of Ellesmere Island, CAN)

Zaria Forman Climate Change Art

Photo: Francois LeBeau

Zaria Forman Climate Change Art

Weddell Sea (Southeast off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula)

Zaria Forman Climate Change Art

Getz Ice Shelf, Antarctica

Zaria Forman Climate Change Art

Garfield Glacier, Antarctica

Here’s a peek into Forman’s meticulous artistic process:

A post shared by Zaria Forman (@zarialynn) on

Zaria Forman: Website | Facebook | Instagram

All images via Zaria Forman.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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