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Toxins,Toys, and Blood Spatters, Oh Boy!!

FEBRUARY 6, 2009
A while back I was asked by Los Angeles Magazine AD Steven Banks to do an image about the lingering issue of lead paint-tainted toys from China.  The inspiration for this solution came from my own house as I watched my two 6 and 7 year old boys clutching their favorite toys as they slept.  The idea that something so treasured yet toxic really struck a nerve. Although there are many different types of toys affected, dolls seemed particularly poignant to me since the lead in these paints is transfered by touch, rubbing off and staying in a child's system forever
I had done a version earlier the day before that was a bit more sensational and graphic, showing the manufacture (think toxic doll factory) which was approved, but it just didn't think it would hit a nerve with readers.  Thanks to Joe Kimberling and Steven Banks at the publication for handing me this one and for keeping open minds to change.
A short while later I received another assignment for the same magazine from Deputy AD Lisa Lewis for a tricky book review.  They were reviewing two books on completely different subjects but wanted the art to address both.  The common thread was the LA Noir style both books were written in.  One book was about a crime scene clean-up technician, the other was about a restaurant critic. 
I thought this image made for a fun, albeit unlikely,  combination.
And lastly, Greg Klee from the Boston Globe is a fairly regular source of rich topics.  An assignment for two images discussing a theory called "Toxic Life" proved rich with possibilities.  The idea behind the theory goes contrary to the idea that if left alone, nature will right itself, being that it's a balanced system.  The writer states that if one considers that there was in fact a time in the planet's history when oxygen was a gas toxic to organisms that thrived on methane and sulphur, eventually killing them off.  He described many examples of where, when left to it's own devices, the Earth would literally kill itself and many of its' inhabitance.
2nd piece for Toxic Life article
Topical: Recent Work