Art Series: Cool Globe Artists (#1) – Green Roofs, Green Garden, Green Earth

ArtStyle will be presenting a weekly art series throughout the summer on the participating Cool Globe Exhibit artists. In this first series, we feature Ingrid Albrecht’s Green Roof Connection, Jonathan Franklin’s Garden Variety, and Jill King’s Electrified Earth. All images are provided courtesy of the artists unless otherwise noted.

Ingrid Albrecht

Background: Teacher at Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Art, Chicago (12 years) and at Northwestern University Norris Center (3 years). Workshop and exhibition producer. Graduate degrees in Remedial Reading/Teaching; Fine Art degree. Website:

Ingrid Albrecht with Globe
The Green Roof Connection. Located just south of Balboa and Lake Shore Drive along the lakefront walkway. Globe #94. Sponsor: Kirkland & Ellis.

Theme and Description: The theme for my Cool Globe is the green roof connection through Chicago's sister cities and the benefits of green roof gardening.

A building rooftop can be a green roof, which is a roof that has soil to accommodate intensive and extensive gardening. A green roof eliminates runoff during rainstorms, provides habitats for migratory insects and birds, reduces the heat island effect in the city by 19% to 31%, and extends the life of a roof. The soil and plants act like a skin on the roof to reduce temperatures by over 25% during the summertime, which reduces the need for so much energy.

Green roofs can also absorb air pollution, collect airborne particles, and store carbon. A whole community of green roofs can change the microclimate of the community and reduce the demand for energy. Green roofs can be intensive or extensive: an intensive roof will need a minimum of a foot of soil for trees, shrubs, vegetable gardens, and well-maintained gardens (requiring complex irrigation and drainage systems and significant maintenance); and an extensive roof will need one to five inches of soil for vegetative ground cover and grass.

Ingrid Albrecht Green Roof Note

Method and Medium: First, I prepared the globe by cleaning it thoroughly and putting on a primer before the painting process began. I wanted to paint the earth looking cracked and brown, so I used different acrylic mediums. For the oceans, I wanted to get a pearlized look, so I mixed five different colors of acrylic paint to get that look and painted in five layers. Then I did my transfers, which was very labor intensive — finding the images, copying them, putting gel gloss over them, letting them dry, soaking them for 15 minutes, rubbing off the paper, and then attaching them to the globe. I have close to 300 images on the globe. Then I used some charcoal on the globe. In addition to the insect and animal transfers, I have green roof notes to educate the public about the benefits of green roofs. I wanted to have the sister cities marked as well. I made my own stencils of the names of all 26 sister cities, cut them out, and adhered them to the globe, while painting through the stencil to create the city name. I used the ocean as my canvas to educate the public about green roof gardening.

Ingrid Albrecht Wildlife

I spent 1000+ hours on this project, including the research and working on the transfers. It was a wonderful process for me to learn about the environment and what we can do as individuals with intensive and extensive green roofs to reduce energy costs and cool the planet. In the summer, when all of that cement and asphalt heat up, you realize what the advantage could be if everyone had green roofs, especially in Chicago with all of our flat roofs, to reduce the “heat island effect.”

Jonathan Franklin

Jonathan Franklin

Background: Began painting on a kibbutz in Israel over 30 years ago. Studied printmaking and currently conducts workshops and art residencies in Chicago public schools with Art Resources in Teaching. Also involved in theater performance and set design. Website:

Theme and Description: This piece is about transforming dense urban environments into green spaces, integrating concrete and nature. If we allow our gardens to whither, so too, will we. My globe is about a green Chicago. As quoted in the Cool Globes guidebook: “Mayor Daley's goal is to make Chicago the ‘greenest city in America.' He is leading by example and creating programs to make this green dream come true. The city is improving its own operations to reduce global warming while helping buildings and businesses become more eco-friendly through grants, incentives, legislation, and education. From its growing fleet of hybrid vehicles to its restoration of lakefront parkland, Chicago's environment efforts are visible everywhere.”

Jonathan Franklin Garden Variety
Garden Variety. Located adjacent to the Chagall mosaic at Monroe and Dearborn. Globe #116. Sponsor: Exelon.

Method and Medium: As to the concept, I initially viewed the globe as a giant flower pot and considered gardens growing from the buildings. Later as I studied the densely foliaged works of Henri Rousseau, I began to think locally and imagined Chicago being enveloped in green. Referring to some rough sketches I made of a few notable buildings and landmarks in and around Chicago, I used water-based paint to apply my ideas directly onto the globe, which came together in about 40 hours.

Jonathan Franklin Mayor Daley and Globe

Shortly after the Cool Globes were unveiled, I sent an op-ed commentary to the Chicago Tribune (June 18, 2007).

    “As a Cool Globe artist, I recently was visiting the Cool Globes exhibition currently on display outside the Field Museum and along the lakefront. The mission of the Cool Globes is to enable artists to present environmental issues and advocate for green solutions. It is a great cause and wonderful exhibit.

    “I noticed, too, that there were plenty of trash receptacles strategically placed along the way as there typically are at all public events. And as one would expect they were chock full of discarded water bottles, soda cans, wrappers and papers. I suspect that the final destination of all this trash is not a recycling bin.

    “I couldn't help but note the irony of the situation. Even in the midst of all these environmentally oriented works of art that espoused responsible resourcefulness and ending unnecessary waste and pollution, all this trash was most likely heading to some bulging landfill. If we build user-friendly recycling receptacles, we will fill them.”

It's time not just to talk the talk but walk the walk.

Jill King

Jill King

Background: MA, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and BFA, Northern Illinois University. Instructor/Facilitator at Art Encounter, Noyes Cultural Center, Evanston Illinois, (10 years, Adult Painting and Drawing). Also taught at American Academy of Art, Chicago, (5 years). Work has appeared in group and one person exhibitions, including Gwenda Jay/Addington Gallery, Chicago Anthenaeum, and Milwaukee Art Museum Gallery; paintings featured in New American Paintings (#35) and Art Scene Chicago, 2000/1999; and art resides in several private and corporate collections throughout the country. Website:

Jill King Globe-Outside
Electrified Earth. Located north on the promenade leading up to the Field Museum. Globe #96. Sponsor: Abt Electronics.

Theme and Description: Choose Energy Star Products. The message my globe conveys is that “When we conserve energy, we give energy back to the earth.” Americans can reduce their home energy use by 30% (equivalent to planting 1.7 acres of trees) just by purchasing Energy Star products, which meet federal energy efficiency standards. Energy efficiency can greatly reduce greenhouse gases and contribute to the reversal of global warming.

The electrified pattern on my globe was painted in colored sand, which I chose because it is part of the earth's natural recycling process. I also added UV-light-absorbing sand to my globe so that it would illuminate at night. My efficiently glowing globe symbolizes capturing the energy we generate and returning it to the earth by buying Energy Star products.

Method and Medium: I designed Electrified Earth by manipulating images in Photoshop of hurricanes to show the energy and spirit of the earth. Inspired by Tibetan sand mandalas and Native American dry painting, I painted my entire globe in colored sand. I began by gradually painting my design onto the globe using a durable non-toxic glue WeldBond. Before the glue dried, I threw the different colored sands onto the painted areas (I had to plan where I would throw each color). I slowly built up the surface by layering and mixing the colored sand. Finally, I added a special feature, a UV-light-absorbing fluorescent sand, to give off a beautiful glow at night.

Jill King Electrified-Earth

I worked on my globe in a donated warehouse space with several other artists. The interchange among the artists was a truly inspiring and enjoyable journey! (You can also view my globe in the June issue of NorthShore Magazine, page 21.)

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