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Safe Painting Guide
I N T R O D U C T I O N S U B S C R I B E P R I N T : C O N T E N T
This section of nontoxicprint / SafePainting.com includes safety-conscious and innovative practice, research, and resources from the vast and complex subject area of Paints and Painting. We are offering writings and resources especially about artist paints for fine art studio use, such as artist oils, acrylics, or the new water miscible paints, and their application.
There also is information on advances and new developments made in domestic and industrial paints. Many of the issues and topics in both fields are linked, and to some degree interchangeable. Intriguingly, contemporary artists from Jackson Pollock to Damien Hurst made conscious use of household or 'trade' paints (wanting to make less 'academic' artworks).
As the paint industry makes chemical advances these trickle down into the more refined, highly pigmented, and more lightfast artist paints, which share most of the base ingredients. Potential health issues from toxic pigments, VOCs, PAHs, thinners, and other ingredients are shared across both areas.
So called 'nontoxic' materials and paints are currently gaining a strong foothold in the market, –– and often are not as safe as it seems –– but artists and users of paint need some specialist knowledge to make informed choices; we are hoping to aid this process. For example, recent studies confirm that many of the world’s great artists suffered from lead poisoning (Caravaggio, or Rembrandt, among them).
The potential health hazards of paints, binders, thinners, and pigments continue to be underestimated by users. Largely unnoticed by the public, it is still common for professional artists to contract various kinds of diseases, asthma, brain disease, and various kinds of cancer, often linked to solvent exposures, especially in graffity artists working with spray paints, or heavy metal poisoning from cadmium use.
Jackson Pollock in his studio, © Hans Namuth Estate
There are many health related aspects that are relevant to both areas, and these are discussed in our pages on Pigments, Solvent Toxicity and Safe Solvent Alternatives, Reproduction Risks, and Legal Aspects. Some of the information on solvent hazards and solvent safety is based on toxicological research and writings originally published by Art Hazard News and the Health in the Arts Program, University of Illinois at Chicago; additional advice on current research was given by Michael McCann.
The Fine Art Painting Section includes a comprehensive essay by Merle Spandorfer on all the painting media available to artists, including acrylic painting, oil painting, gouache, pigments, mediums, etc., which was first published in Making Art Safely by Van Nostrand Reinhold, NY.
Safe Painting for Art and DIY: Safety of domestic and DIY paint products
in Fine Art and Interior Decorating
Safe Oil Painting: Goodby to Turpentine: Robert Maynord
Oil Painting - nontoxic: Mike Bergen
Spike Lavender Washes and Glazes: Robert Maynord
Oil Painting Hazards in Classrooms Michael McCann
Color-field painting, freedom, and Art
article by Friedhard Kiekeben and Willy Richardson
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'Painted Trees', Chicago Park District, 2011
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The information on this website is based on what we - the individual authors - believe to be
current safety-conscious practice. Progress in the field is ongoing, opinions vary,
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