The amount of rubbish that accumulates on our shore lines is hugely worrying and a growing problem for the planet. It seems like no matter how remote you trek and how high you climb, there's always a discarded plastic container there waiting for you.
Mariah Reading, an artist from Maine, USA, spends the majority of her time outdoors looking for inspiration for her art, based in nature and our natural surroundings. On noticing the amount of waste cluttering up her natural areas, she decided she had to reflect it in her work.
For her most recent project, Reading is looking at both the problem of wasteful littering and the way that art itself can be wasteful in materials also, taking the discarded items that clutter up her natural spaces and painting them to reflect the place in which they were left.
Applying acrylic paint to create her masterpieces, Mariah has so far collected trash from Acadia, Rocky Mountain, Arches, Zion, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Pinnacles, Channel Islands, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Saguaro, Guadalupe Mountains, Carlsbad Caverns, Big Bend, and Petrified Forest National Parks.
"I have been contemplating my relationship with art and the large amount of waste it can produce" says Mariah. "I wanted to find ways I can validate art and its important purpose by working with recycled materials found in National Parks and other landscape environments."
"With 2016 having been the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, I have especially appreciated, and been inspired by, the natural beauty that the parks offer, and found how easily we can take these precious places for granted. I plan to gather as much trash as I can, sculpt it into a canvas, and paint the scene where the trash originated onto the trash itself."
Mariah's work might not solve the litter problem in our parks and on our beaches, however it's just another way that we can get people talking about the problem and the ways we can prevent the problem from growing any larger.
As well as through this project, Mariah has explored nature in her art in various different ways and through several exhibitions. Check out her all her work here and follow her Instagram to see where she finds her next painting.