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Investing Ideas: Launch of the first soy-based gesso for artists, and a line of soy-based industrial scenic art paints and products


May 13, 2013 ( renewable energy newswire) A documentary on the pioneering of sustainable art products, the work of artist Marshall Carbee, is seeking Kickstarter funding to expose the paint industry's dirty little secret - that even the low-VOC paints approved by the EPA have been declared safe only for the environment, all the while often being quite harmful to humans.

VOCs stands for volatile organic compounds. "Don't be fooled by the word 'organic,'" says Executive Producer Nanci Crosbie. "They are chemical compounds - 'organic' only because they contain carbon, found in all living things."

It is the "volatile" that is the safety risk. It means that these paints easily become gases. If you have ever painted a bedroom or a canvas, that strong smell that is noticeable for the first few days comes from the chemicals in the paint turning into vapors.

The problem is, long after we stop noticeably smelling those compounds, the chemicals continue to seep into the air over the lifetime of the paint. That beautiful work of art hanging on your wall, that cute color for your baby's nursery - they are actually sending off unnoticeable fumes that are likely toxic, according to artist Marshall Carbee who says others must be alerted to this danger.

Carbee first became aware of the problem while working as a scenic artist in New York City . Scenics are the artists who create the illusions of other times and places by painting the sets of movies and plays.

"Our days are long," says Carbee, "but I noticed that when we struck the sets and our work was done, the job was often not done with us. Many scenics developed long-term health problems most likely from working with hazardous scenic art materials - even paints that were certified as having low-VOCs."

When Carbee saw his fellow scenics develop chronic illnesses, he began to look for safer alternatives for artists. Shockingly, he discovered that there were none. So, he set out on a mission to create paints that were safer for people and safer for the planet - the first truly sustainable paints.

Carbee's quest for a better future for paints ended up taking him backwards in time. Mankind has been painting since caves were our canvas, long before we relied upon petroleum and harmful chemicals.

In 2008, Carbee search led him to Eco Safety Products, a relatively small soy-based coatings manufacturer in Phoenix , Arizona . Their CEO, John Bennett, had built a company that pioneered using soy-based formulations for paint rather than petroleum. The results were actually paints that were not only better healthier for people, but yielded much better performance, as well.

The artist/entrepreneur and CEO began working together towards a shared vision of sustainability. They developed the first soy-based gesso for artists, and a line of soy-based industrial scenic art paints and products.

Inspired by how Nature allows for the creation of paints without any chemicals, Marshall Carbee began to explore to what degree he could partner with the Earth itself in creating art. This led not only to his using sustainable materials, but to giving nature the creative lead in his painting methods.

"Now my goal is to touch the art as little as possible," says Carbee of his unique work. "I use natural soy to prepare the canvas and then use the colors of the nearby environment to create the paints. Then I leave the canvas outside, sometimes for months at a time, and let wind, rain, and the curve of the Earth itself 'paint' the ultimate piece."

The documentary will feature the results, which are often stunning: like looking at the Grand Canyon or the Great Lakes in miniature, only filled with dozens of colors. Carbee even harnesses what we usually consider nature at its most destructive - some of his most famous paintings have been created while canvases whipped through the high winds and rolled on the ground during hurricanes.

Carbee's hope is that the documentary will inspire the next step. "No more finger painting in schools with paints that could be toxic. No more paint-caused illnesses for artists. No more dangerous VOCs in our homes. Contribute to our Kickstarter campaign, and join us in giving people a better choice for their children, their homes, and their art." Newswire

Check out our Kickstarter project through May 23: Newswire

Two Carbee bio-paint earth paintings, private collection, Sonoma County , California


Lance Laytner
Public Good Relations

More Info: Newswire

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