"LA AQI: 1980-2024"

LA AQI: 1980-2024 by Stephen Haske
"LA AQI: 1980-2024" by Stephen Haske is one of eight finalists in the Data Is ART Competition.

The spiral chart shows the Air Quality Index rating for the Los Angeles, California, urban basin, with each day represented by one tick, starting in the middle from Jan. 1, 1980 (the earliest date available for reliable data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and radiating out to Jan. 15, 2024. Each tick can be one of six colors: a rating of 50 or less (Good = graphite); 51-100 (Moderate = yellow); 101-150 (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups = yellow-orange); 151-200 (Unhealthy = orange-red); 201-300 (Very Unhealthy = red); 301 or more (Hazardous = dark red). 

Haske has been interested in environmental causes for many years, especially regarding steps that can be taken to help make conditions better, or at least reduce harm. Haske grew up in the Los Angeles area from birth to his early 30s (off and on) and remembers many Hazardous Air quality days in school when he and classmates were asked to stay indoors. Los Angeles and the surrounding area are regularly among the most polluted regions in the United States since data has been collected. Due to a pessimistic attitude, Haske initially expected this chart to show a worsening of conditions. However, he was pleasantly surprised to see a trend toward the cleaner for this specific metric. It shows that with concentrated effort we can effectively address a collective health issue.

Steve Haske
Steve Haske

Steve Haske

Steve Haske grew up on the mean streets of Orange County, California, and then moved up the rough and tumble forests of Humboldt County, California, to receive a degree from Cal Poly Humboldt. He also attended The University of New Orleans where he met his wife and decided to stay for a while, eating good food, listening to great music, and filling lots of sketchbooks with drawings. Instead of doing odd jobs for the rest of his life, he moved to Savannah, Georgia, to get a master's degree in illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2005.

Haske worked for Nirve Sports in Southern California for seven years designing bikes — the kind you pedal to get around. They were mainly beach cruisers and city bikes, which he also enjoys pedaling around.

Since then, he has been designing, illustrating, painting, and using other creative approaches to describe and contribute to the beautiful world that is around us all. He has created editorial and commercial illustrations for clients such as WNRN Radio, Nest Realty, Virginia National Bank, Rivanna Medical, Pink Magazine, Ant Farm, and more. He has drawn and designed posters for such acts as Michael Kiwanuka, Steve Miller, Ben Harper, Lockn' Music Festival, Lake Street Dive, Lotus, Bela Fleck, and more.

Haske also taught art at Renaissance School in Charlottesville, Virginia, for six years. He can attest that young artists really are fantastic sources of inspiration and hope. That old cliche about teaching and learning being the same thing is true, he says.

Haske has exhibited artwork in various galleries, lobbies, side streets, and many personal collections.

Much of Haske’s work is focused on drawing images of architecture and mechanical structures and their complex interaction with nature. By contrasting and exploding expectations through drawing and collage, differences that can be at first jarring are made to be newly holistic.

Haske currently lives in Charlottesville with his family, where he continues to create in his home studio (https://www.stevehaske.com).