Shawn Barber's techniques = really unhealthy?

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  1. #1
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    Shawn Barber's techniques = really unhealthy?

    I was really flabbergasted when I watched Shawn's foundation painting video.

    The video didn't start out with a basic safety information, and it looked like he was using real oils with solvents in an enclosed room.

    Keep in mind that all solvents give off fumes, even the odorless, it's just that you can't smell them as much with the odorless stuff.

    What was really disturbing was seeing him use his hand to spread cadmium based paints around. That stuff's pretty toxic last I heard, any heavy metal is. Even good old titanium white has some lead in it.

    My painting instructor is quite old, 70+ and he's still around mainly because he's a stickler for safety. He makes sure to tell us that a lot of the artists he's studied with or taught in oils, who didn't follow his directions have died of cancer well before him.

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    Haven't seen the video so can't comment on your other points but..

    What was really disturbing was seeing him use his hand to spread cadmium based paints around. That stuff's pretty toxic last I heard, any heavy metal is.
    Unless he had gaping open wounds on his hand, that's not a problem. Unless he was eating a sandwich at the same time.

    It's oil paint and a bit of turps, not uranium. Open a window and don't eat the stuff.

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    It's not like Cadmium paints and thinners are total Kryptonite.
    Yes... obviously not to be eaten or rubbed on your crotch but not going kill you from just being near them.

    Last edited by mambo; December 6th, 2007 at 11:05 AM.
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    I wouldn't underestimate the long term affects of these chemicals. Or put too much stock in the purity claims on the bottle. Look what happened to Frazetta.

    At least Icarus tried!


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    If you watch the extras - he explains about ventilation and such - also recycling materials among other things (turpentine).

    We only see a small corner of the studio, and I'd wager there's at least some ventilation (he also has a gas mask/respirator type thing in his studio as well, mentioned in the extras).

    If memory serves, there's also a point where he's doing something that a little "Do not do this at home kiddies" type thing pops up at the bottom of the screen and he says something to that effect while doing it .


    Most artists have their quirks/unsafe habits - I for one have probably one of the most 'dangerous' - I eat/drink while I work regardless of medium (I'll sit and watch the gasps of horror at doing that while oil painting - which I'm careful to keep strictly as 'bottled drink').


    Warnings about these products are everywhere, even on the products themselves, use at your own risk - however small that risk may be (honestly - smoking is just as dangerous, if not more so, and there's a lot of people who do that as well as art - not to mention some art supplies are notably flammable )

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    I wouldn't underestimate the long term affects of these chemicals. Or put too much stock in the purity claims on the bottle. Look what happened to Frazetta.
    Yeah I don't think you should be cleaning your brushes with your mouth or anything... but I think there is a whole culture of saving people from themselves these days that's a bit over the top.

    As far as Frazetta... I know he had thyroid problems... but I don't know if it was ever conclusively linked to his use of thinners without ventilation. Not that it couldn't be... but lots of people get screwed up thyroids for other reasons as well.

    Here's an interesting tidbit about that:

    But along with financial comfort and critical acclaim, the 1980's also brought health problems to the vigorous artist. "The first symptoms appeared about 1986 ," Frank relates. " I had three jobs going on at the same time and I was burning the midnight oil. Coincidentally I had bought some really inexpensive turpentine, real junk. The fumes were so terrible that it probably screwed my thyroid up. Nobody's quite sure what makes a thyroid malfunction or quit or go hyperactive, but they certainly know it can be affected by chemicals. I was working for about two weeks with this turpentine that just permeated my studio: my wife and kids wouldn't even come into the room it was so bad. But good ol' Frank just kept plugging away. "I'm tough, this won't affect me. " Around the time I was finishing the jobs I suddenly got this eerie, insidious taste in my mouth. It was almost as if Death had entered.

    Painting became more difficult and he began to experience dizziness and debilitating pain. For the next eight years Frazetta saw dozens of doctors and was subjected to every imaginable test, always with inconclusive results. His weight plummeted from 180 to 128 pounds and his anxiety increased. A visit to the Mayo clinic proved to be a disaster. They thought his problems were mental; they could discover no biological basis for the symptoms. Frank returned home to Pennsylvania and thought he would soon die. Luckily, a local doctor ran a standard thyroid test and found the problem - a malfunctioning thyroid that was causing an extreme hormonal disfunction. Once the proper medication was determined Frazetta began a return to normal state.

    Few people realized that Franks's "come back" was more of a display of personal triumph that it was an indication of a desire to return to his comic roots. An undiagnosed thyroid condition had played havoc with both his professional and personal life. " I suddenly had no more of those wonderful images running through my head. And even though I could sit there and sort of work out a composition and a design, the actual application was gone. I noticed when I used the brush, nothing happened. Everything was flat. There was none of that spontaneity, none of that courage to site there and ride it out and let things happen. "What have I lost?" I thought it was because I was getting older and I knew that I'd lose some of my skills. Eventually. But it happen so suddenly. I tried everything: pen and ink, pencils, painting; the were all awful. I used to look at my old work and ask myself, "How did I do that? I guess that's just what happens when you get old." Obviously I realized that it was something in my brain that wasn't functioning right, it's just that neither the doctors or I attributed it to the thyroid."

    Once they corrected his hormonal imbalance, things immediately turned around . "The most wonderful and incredible thing is, the minute they got this thing adjusted, bang! It all came back in an instant. I never imagined that my skill would come back just as good as ever. That's crazy, but it shows that the brain is like a delicate computer and sometimes the circuits need a little soldering."
    source: http://www.frazettaartgallery.com/ff/bio/1980/1980.html

    I'd be guessing myself and a great many other commercial artists would have something similar after years of using the chemical bestine to wash up hands and clean up excess wax from old time waxers (before it was banned for studio use) or the fumes from spray adhesive (nice deep lungful of Super77 anyone?) before it was mandatory the studios have spray booths. Or Christ the number of hours spent years ago making INT transfers on horizontal stat cams or in photo darkrooms or back even when typesetting was still done on machines that had photo chemicals. And then of course there are all the years surviving second hand cigarette smoke, the amount of time spent around people choking down bong loads of pot and hash... and even the whole second hand crack smoke issue to deal with - nothing like stepping on dirty needles and hot glass pipes scattered on the floor. Not to mention syphillis and whole host of other STD's that have either been ducked, dodged or ignored. I guess I'm not so worried about the occasional paint fume or smudge of cadmium paint on my finger.

    Feckin' hell... I think I've embalmed myself!!!

    Mambo

    Last edited by mambo; December 6th, 2007 at 11:21 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vertrucio View Post
    Keep in mind that all solvents give off fumes, even the odorless, it's just that you can't smell them as much with the odorless stuff.
    This notion that odorless thinners are somehow more dangerous "because you can't smell them" is false on two grounds. First of all, the aromatic components are the more harmful ones, secondly, the amount of solvent you are exposed to is dependent on how much vapor is in the air, and OMS has a much slower evaporation rate.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vertrucio View Post
    What was really disturbing was seeing him use his hand to spread cadmium based paints around. That stuff's pretty toxic last I heard, any heavy metal is. Even good old titanium white has some lead in it.
    Unbroken skin is an effective barrier to heavy metals. One should, of course, wash one's hands thoroughly before eating, but even then, I don't believe the cadmium compounds used in artist's paints are absorbed by the body. The amount of lead naturally occurring as a contaminant in titanium ore is absolutely minuscule, there is only a warning because California requires one for any detectable amount of lead regardless of demonstrable health risk. The exact same titanium white pigment used in artist's paints is approved as a food colorant.


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    Caution is good. I paint while wearing latex gloves. It makes clean-up much easier, and saves me from dry skin brought on by too much washing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mambo View Post
    I'd be guessing myself and a great many other commercial artists would have something similar after years of using the chemical bestine to wash up hands and clean up excess wax from old time waxers (before it was banned for studio use) or the fumes from spray adhesive (nice deep lungful of Super77 anyone?) before it was mandatory the studios have spray booths. Or Christ the number of hours spent years ago making INT transfers on horizontal stat cams or in photo darkrooms or back even when typesetting was still done on machines that had photo chemicals. And then of course there are all the years surviving second hand cigarette smoke, the amount of time spent around people choking down bong loads of pot and hash... and even the whole second hand crack smoke issue to deal with - nothing like stepping on dirty needles and hot glass pipes scattered on the floor. Not to mention syphillis and whole host of other STD's that have either been ducked, dodged or ignored. I guess I'm not so worried about the occasional paint fume or smudge of cadmium paint on my finger.

    Feckin' hell... I think I've embalmed myself!!!

    Mambo
    Holy carp! You and me both, then. They banned film cleaner? I used to live in a fog of that stuff (it would actually dissolve blue-line right off illustration board...it was like having an undo button for paper!). And remember how stat developer used to smell like old rotten onions when it oxidized?

    Ah, memory. Vile, stinky memories.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    I have a fething piece of autunite in my room, do you really think I'm worried about a little cadmium?

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    I like to enjoy painting. As such, I don't like to make it like doing chores, where I have to follow protocol. And besides, fingers are the best tools.

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    Hmm....I had some paint (not too much, but stuff you have to rub a bit to get off) on me when I was eating... is that bad?

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    I once took a mouthful of solvent, when I ment to drink coke from a similar cup. Luckily I spat it out before swallowing.
    After that I only drink bottled\canned drinks while painting.

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  19. #15
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    lol... have you people never freebased crack? Never huffed gas/paint/white out? Have you never even got a bit of gas in your mouth while stealing gas from another vehicle via a bit of rubber hose?

    Christ... a bit of paint on your hand isn't going to kill you.

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    <blinks at mambo>

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    Hah! Did some seraching, smokers, you're already getting your dosage of cadmium.

    "Cigarette smokers, however, typically sustain significantly higher exposure. Cadmium inhaled through cigarette smoke is more easily taken up by the body than cadmium in food or water. From 40 to 60 percent of the cadmium inhaled in smoke is absorbed into the bloodstream as opposed to the 5 to 10 percent absorbed through foods. Each cigarette contains roughly 1 to 2 micrograms of cadmium, and smokers absorb an additional 1 to 3 micrograms of cadmium into their systems daily for every pack they smoke. Studies have shown that smoking more than 20 cigarettes daily can increase cadmium levels in the body tenfold. "

    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~toxmetal/TXQAcd.shtml

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    I love it when people who smoke express any concern about other possible health risks. It's like making sure your seatbelt is on before you drive off a cliff.


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    heheheh
    Im sure I do myself more harm withthe gin I drink whiole painting than any other heath hazzard
    cleans brushes pretty well too
    crx

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    Quote Originally Posted by chaosrocks View Post
    heheheh
    Im sure I do myself more harm withthe gin I drink whiole painting than any other heath hazzard
    cleans brushes pretty well too
    crx
    Ah come on. Van Gogh cut off his ear because he was sucking on his brushes. It had absolutely nothing to do with the gallons absinthe he was drinking. You making booze a scape goat sickens me...

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