Photoflex Pro Photographer- Brian McCarty

Last week Brian McCarty sent us his book "Art-Toys" to thank us for our support of his work which exhibits hundreds of his amazing photography that features -wait for it- toys. That's right. Toys.


Yes. Toys.

Photoflex Pro Photographer- Brian McCarty


Brian McCarty was born July 22, 1974 in Memphis, Tennessee. He studied at the Parsons School of Design in New York City and the Benetton-supported, creative research centre Fabrica in Treviso, Italy. He received his BFA in Photography from Parsons School of Design in 1996.

McCarty is known for his unique and innovative still-life photography. His work fuses reality and hyperreality through the personification and pantomime of toy characters, integrated into real settings through the use of forced perspective. Serving as both subject and surrogate, the arranged actions of toys are presented as authentic. Through the camera, McCarty creates and captures actual, although completely artificial moments in time. This artful play is used by McCarty to deconstruct and explore wide-ranging themes from family roles to consumerism, war to individual and cultural identity.


Broken Heart Robot- Who knew toys could evoke such an emotion?

McCarty’s postmodern integration of concept and character has earned his photography a prominent position in the growing Art-Toy movement, popularized by fellow artists such as Takashi Murakami and Brian “KAWS” Donnelly. McCarty is featured in several books chronicling the artistic movement such as Vinyl Will Kill, Dot Dot Dash, and Toys: New Designs from the Art-Toy Revolution. His first monograph, titled Art-Toys, was released in 2010 by Los Angeles based Baby Tattoo Books.


Petit Lapin- McCarty makes the imaginary, real.

Prior to the emergence of the Art-Toy movement, McCarty was using toys in his photography to gain distance from reality while referring to it and attempting to explain it. While at Parsons in 1993, he began work on

The Dollhouse.

For the series McCarty constructed a toy hyperreality and used the simulacra of family to explore modern living. The Dollhouse received notable praise – earning an honorable mention in the Vera List sponsored Humans All juried competition and inclusion in the traveling group exhibition Making It Real, curated by Vik Muniz.

Upon earning his BFA in 1996, McCarty accepted a one-year grant to study at the creative research centre Fabrica. There, he collaborated on several prominent fine-art exhibitions, including

Habitus, Abito, Abitare, Progetto Arte at the Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art and KON©EPT, the first major photographic exhibition in Zagreb after the Croatian War of Independence. McCarty used the forum to study so-called “war-toys” as both cultural artifacts and tools for gaining perspective on individual experiences of conflict.


There is more than meets the eye with McCarty.

Influenced by his time at Fabrica, McCarty returned to the United States and began challenging notions of art and commerce. While working in the toy industry at Mattel, McCarty sought out likeminded collaborators – designers who also saw the potential of toys to be intentional objects of artistic expression. He soon discovered the beginnings of the Art-Toy movement in Hong Kong. By 2002, McCarty’s vision and approach had merged with the growing renaissance of toy and character design. He left Mattel and founded his own studio in Los Angeles.


Tricycle Terror- McCarty sees more than a toy, he sees a story.

McCarty continued to document reality from a constructed foundation, from the unreal. He made his studio a focal point for artistic and commercial collaboration. This body of work earned notable praise from such places as L’Uomo Vogue, Telegraph UK, ABC World News, and XLR8R Magazine. His commercial photography roster grew to include pop-culture clients such as Rockstar Games, MTV, Kidrobot, and Cartoon Network.

In 2007, McCarty was included in the first museum exhibition to focus solely on toys as a purposeful means of artistic expression. The Pasadena Museum of California Art played host to Beyond Ultraman: Seven Artists Explore the Vinyl Frontier, curated by Maria Kwong.

McCarty is currently working on new photo projects while expanding his vision in new directions. He recently co-created, produced, and art-directed an animated series based upon his photography that went into development for Nickelodeon. In addition, he is currently serving on the board of directors for the PLATFORM International Animation Festival, focusing on cross-medium artistic collaborations.


Toxic Teddy- So cute, yet so deadly...

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