Dystopian paintings by Alice Tye that imagine American cities transformed by climate change

© Alice Tye

In her series Hello America, London-based illustrator and painter Alice Tye looks at how climate change might impact the United States in future.

Inspired by J G Ballard's novel of the same name, the premise of the book is that climate change has reversed the climate of the United States so New York City and Washington D.C have become vast deserts of sand dunes and cacti, and as the characters move across the country the weather becomes wetter and more humid which has caused Los Angeles and Las Vegas to transform into thick jungles filled with wild animals and vibrant flowers.

"His descriptions of the dystopian landscape of the US were so detailed and colourful that I've wanted to make work based on the novel since I first read it in 2014," Alice tells Creative Boom. "I began by sifting through my own photographs of New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas which are the main hubs of the action in the novel.

"I then decided to really focus on the flora described by Ballard so I took myself on a field trip to Kew Gardens to photograph the appropriate plants for each landscape. I then filled in the gaps in my self-generated references with images from rights-free image libraries and began digitally composing the landscapes. Once I have the composition confirmed I painted the images using oil paints on paper in quite a traditional way."

In her paintings, we see abandoned petrol stations covered in jungle, a former motel in the middle of a desert surrounded by camels and cacti surrounding the Capitol.

"It is interesting how timely the project feels now that the world seems to be crumbling or at least changing rapidly," Alice adds. "I made the series during the first half of 2019, so obviously the current pandemic was not part of my inspiration but climate change as on mind whilst I worked on it. It seems that Ballard, much like fellow dystopian writer Margaret Atwood, has an uncanny way of predicting how the future could turn out. I hope that the series makes people think a little bit about our impact on the earth and how easy it could be for things to escalate beyond our control."

© Alice Tye

© Alice Tye

© Alice Tye

© Alice Tye

© Alice Tye

© Alice Tye

© Alice Tye

© Alice Tye

© Alice Tye

© Alice Tye