16-year-old Joanna Wirazka has a very interesting choice of canvas. Instead of paper or fabric, the self-taught artist from Poland paints colorful artworks on fallen autumn leaves. Her works are not only stunning to look at, but also carry a strong environmental message.
Every autumn, Joanna puts aside her regular canvas for something that’s free, readily available, and in her opinion, juts as good – fallen tree leaves. She collects them from a park near her house and places them inside a book until they are completely dry. She then paints them black using water-based acrylic paint, before covering them with colorful landscapes inspired by bustling cities and natural sceneries alike.
But as beautiful as the self-taught artworks may be to look at, there’s more to them than meets the eye. “I wanted to say that we don’t need to cut trees to have paper for drawing and painting,” she said. “I think it’s important to raise people’s awareness about the really bad condition of our planet.”
Joanna painted her first tree leaf artwork on New year’s Eve of Last year. While most of her friends were busy getting ready for a night of partying, she spent the whole day drying, painting and drawing on fallen leaves, perfecting her technique through trial and error.
She never imagined that one day the whole world would know and care about her art, until one day, when a popular art blog picked up a photo of the very first leaf painting that she had posted on her Instagram account. It ended up going viral, and the positive feedback she got inspired her to create more leaf masterpieces.