|"Desire Turns Concrete" 16x20" oil on canvas © Shayla Perreault Newcomb|
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."
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