BP: Belching Petroleum – The Art Of The Oil Spill

It is not clear which is the biggest scandal. BP pumping maybe a million gallons of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico (after all, industrial mishaps do happen); or the Obama Administration’s continued support for opening up more and more of America’s shores to oil drilling (when, after all, industrial mishaps do happen – and will continue to happen irrespective of any marginal improvement to regulatory oversight); or the whole thing being thrown right back in the face of the average Louisiana resident as it remains ‘all systems go’ to celebrate the 75th Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival honoring Louisiana as ‘an oil state’ – or maybe now more appropriately ‘an oily state’.

I have been wondering how long it would take for the biggest environmental disaster in history to inspire the creation of some art. Digital artist Ubermorgen has created a series of works entitled Deep Horizon.

25 Million Liters

25 Million Liters

The images are created from photographs of the oil spill itself, digitally manipulated to create abstract images with various liquefied effects.  Some images (above and below) are part of the “Aerial Series” and, to my eye, manage to convey a sense of the overwhelming immensity of the disaster that is truly frightening.

17 Million Liters

17 Million Liters

The second “Liquid Series” plays with color and light. Here all evidence that this is a major industrial, environmental and human catastrophe disappear and we are left with bright, happy images that disguise the reality of what is going on. The disconnect between the feeling created by some of these images and the image titles could not be greater.

2 Million Liters

2 Million Liters

Other Art

Of course the disaster has inspired the more usual forms of artistic endeavours.

From political cartoons…….. (see here for more political cartoons)

Picture 1

Matt Davies political cartoon

To take-offs of what now seems like a laughably cynical BP “all green together” logo and corporate image.

Picture 2


  1. I am an artist, oils, watercolor, sculpture and a wildlife and nature photographer. I’ve been out there and seen the oil and it’s destruction first hand. It is so devastating that I can hardly bring myself to look at photos anymore, especially of the wildlife. I am heartbroken that the wildlife are not being rescued…BP is not allowing agencies to get out there… They are letting the pelicans, terns and gulls, egrets and herons drown in their oily greed. What will it take to wake them up and see they are doing more publicity harm by not taking action to help the wildlife? It is so sad. For one month now, I’ve stared at my blank canvas and could only see black. I’ve picked up a brush and had to put it back down many times. Only yesterday did I see something other than black to paint on my canvas. I think that is because I now realize that this catastrophic event is bigger than anything the world has ever had to contend with and I am only a small voice without any clout to get anything done to help save the wildlife. Everywhere I’ve tried it has been closed doors… My art will reflect my emotions over all the blunt, brutal lack of caring for God’s living breathing creatures…

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