Art can be bad for your health

Research into the effects of "art" on artists has been fairly sparse. Very often, studies into health issues concerning industrial painters and craftsmen have been the most useful sources of relevant information. Being largely self-employed rather than a cohesive group with its own representation, artists have had their health issues overlooked.

Many artists don't question their favorite methods and materials and if no one is checking up on their behalf or enforcing good health and safety practices, they are often quite happy to carry on regardless. It is perhaps only when a physical symptom is personally experienced that an artist stops to consider whether his or her working practices and workplace may be responsible.

"Artists are a very strange breed of people," Rickard says. "They tend to be quite anti-establishment, anti-authority. If the rules say do this, they'll do the opposite quite deliberately."

Or perhaps artists feel that "it's a risk you're willing to take because you're excited by the materials and their potential," Barazani says. Or maybe "these artists are not casual with the materials they're working with because they feel they know them so well that they don't have to worry about them," Conibear says, "but rather they're mostly just ignorant and just haven't thought of it in that context."

The most compelling explanation may be a combination of a dangerous attitude and ignorance of dire consequences.

"The self-employed artist may be socialized to be above such mundane concerns. They're thinking on a higher plane. They're creators," says Fuortes. "But once someone has health problems, they're extremely attentive."

Read the entire article here.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Paint Storage Tips

This isn't pretty, but this is where and how I have been mixing my paints colors. I might leave a jar open for most of the day. I did work directly from the container.  I certainly didn't worry about contamination of my paints. I didn't give much thought to paint storage. I was thinking about my work!  

A note- the orange spray bottle has not had a cleaner in it for years. It is filled with water. I find it has a great nozzle for spraying water when I need to do so. That being said, I no longer use any cleaners like this either. I have switched to plant based cleaners that are gentle.

Today I found this article about paint storage. I have never had a paint mold. But I do think working around all those open containers was allowing a lot of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) to contaminate the indoor air quality of my working space. Its something to think about.

Paint products can become contaminated with bacteria or mold, which can lead to a strong, offensive and in some cases, sickening odor. Paints such as poster paints and temperas that are intended for classroom use, and for children, often contain an organic binder that is subject to degradation if not stored properly, or used within a reasonable period of time. 

To guard against bacteria and mold, manufacturers of paint products add preservatives to these products. Diluting the product will decrease the effectiveness of preservatives. Below are some tips on storing paint products to maximize their shelf life:
  • Store the product in its original container in a cool, dry place and prevent freezing.
  • Date and rotate inventory, always using the oldest stock first.
  • Thoroughly shake the product before using.
  • Remove only enough paint for immediate use. Never return unused portions to the original container.
  • Never dilute the product. The addition of water dilutes the preservative's strength as well as the paint. If diluting paint to simulate watercolor techniques, prepare only enough for immediate use.
  • Avoid working directly from the original product container. Do not place brushes, hands, or other objects in the container.
  • After each use, make sure the cap is returned tightly and that the product is sealed before storing.
All paints are subject to eventual spoilage once opened and exposed to air and other contaminants. Most spoilage is a result of cross-contamination from common sources such as air, water, people, brushes and other utensils. Proper storage and usage will reduce potential sources of contamination and extend the life of your paint.

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