Both an internationally exhibited artist and a toy-industry veteran, Brian McCarty is best 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.
McCarty’s postmodern integration of concept and character has earned his photography close association with the growing "Art-Toy" movement. 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." McCarty’s first monograph titled "Art-Toys," published in 2010, enjoyed several weeks on Amazon's art bestseller list. McCarty’s work has earned notable praise from such places as CNN.com, The New York Times, The Telegraph UK, L’Uomo Vogue, ABC World News, FHM Germany, and XLR8R Magazine. In addition to spending nearly four years in-house at Mattel, McCarty’s commercial portfolio includes commissioned work for Disney, MTV, Hasbro, Rockstar Games, Kidrobot, and Cartoon Network. He has co-created, produced, and art-directed an animated series based upon his photography for Nickelodeon. In addition, he currently serves on the board of directors for the PLATFORM International Animation Festival, focusing on cross-medium artistic collaborations.
In 2010, McCarty decided to challenge his established methods and expand his vision in new directions. He began work on an ambitious photo essay that has roots in his “war-toy” study from 1996. The WAR-TOYS project seeks to articulate children’s firsthand accounts of war using principles of play and art therapy. In practice, boys and girls who have been affected by conflict essentially become art directors for McCarty’s unique toy photography. Recently, McCarty gave a TEDx talk entitled "War, Art Therapy, and Toys" in Santa Monica, California and currently splits his time between WAR-TOYS and commissioned work.
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