News Environment Artist's Fantastical Paper Installations Are a 'Love Song' to Earth's Biodiversity These imaginary landscapes of flora and fauna are a call to action to protect that biodiversity. By Kimberley Mok Kimberley Mok Twitter Writer McGill University Cornell University Kimberley Mok is a former architect who has been covering architecture and the arts for Treehugger since 2007. Learn about our editorial process Updated August 2, 2021 07:38PM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Images courtesy of Clare Celeste Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive Nature is all about relationships: the interconnected links between the animate and inanimate, and how they harmonize beautifully into an emergent whole that might not be immediately apparent to us humans, as the complexities of the world sometimes escape the grasp of our relatively short-sighted understanding. Perhaps that's why the urgency of the climate crisis and other environmental issues doesn't truly hit home for some; because that important data is presented in a dry, factual way that doesn't stir the deeper parts of our collective soul, in a way that would move us to realize what is being lost. Where science fails, that's where art can come in to evoke that necessary emotional response, whether it's environmentally aware works of painting, textiles, sculpture, or even just working with stones, snow and leaves. Clare Celeste is yet another environmentally-minded artist creating artworks that aim to highlight the precious biodiversity of the planet. Using paper that is intricately cut and then hand-assembled piece by piece, Celeste forms vibrant, imaginary landscapes of flora and fauna that are collaged, suspended, folded, or pressed between glass. Images courtesy of Clare Celeste As Celeste explains: "My art is a reflection of my love of nature. It is a love song to our planet. I am endlessly fascinated by the connections between organisms, the intricacies of ecosystems, and the complexity of nature, its resilience and its beauty." Images courtesy of Clare Celeste Celeste's interest in the natural world stems from her time living in different places around the world—from Brazil, the United States, Italy, Honduras, Argentina, and now in Berlin, Germany, where she is currently based. Images courtesy of Clare Celeste Growing up in Brazil, Celeste says that her earliest, formative childhood memories were of lush, tropical ecosystems slowly being eaten up by the rapid expansion of nearby cities. Images courtesy of Clare Celeste That precarious balance between the natural and human world is reflected in Celeste's 3D paper art installations, which often have fragile cut-outs that dangle from the ceiling or are attached to the wall as an ephemeral reminder of what is at stake. Images courtesy of Clare Celeste Much of Celeste's materials come from vintage photographs taken from open source archives, both online and from books, as well as her own photography. Celeste also explains how she realized her fantastical assemblages were also a grim memorial: "This came into focus for me when I made a series of collages and then later realized that many of the species in the vintage illustrations had already gone extinct. Humanity has wiped out 68 percent of all our planet’s biodiversity since 1970, so working with vintage illustrations can be very heartbreaking as much of the diversity in these gorgeous old naturalist prints has been wiped out by human activity." Images courtesy of Clare Celeste Besides these throngs of paper creatures and plants, Celeste also fabricates lovely art pieces from hand-cut paper forms that are interleaved between layers of laser-cut glass—some of them round or orthogonal in shape. Images courtesy of Clare Celeste The layers of plexiglass allow for some layers to be foregrounded, while some soften into the background, suggesting interconnectivity that overlaps and condenses on top of itself. Images courtesy of Clare Celeste Celeste explains some of the motivations behind this series of paper and plexiglass works: "I wanted to convey the beauty of our planet’s flora and fauna, while also introducing a more architectural or human-made element with the geometric patterns. Having grown up in Brazil, I was surrounded by dense urban spaces that often had rich jungle growth just wanting to break through the concrete architecture. There is so much more that could be done to integrate the local biodiversity and urban planning." Images courtesy of Clare Celeste Ultimately, Celeste's work is a call for us to take notice of the planet's threatened biodiversity and a loving call to action: "So what do we do? I suggest we go back to our love: our love of nature, of humanity, of our children, of future generations. Because when we love something deeply, we are compelled to act -- to save it when it is threatened." It's a call we cannot ignore, except at our own peril; to see more, visit Clare Celeste.