Photographer Feature: Brian McCarty

Editor Shenyah Webb, Photography, April 24th, 2014

WAR-TOYS...children share lingering fears and witnessed tragedies.


Brian McCarty is most known for his prominent position in the Art-Toy and Pop Surrealist movements, commissioned and highly praised by clients such as Rock Star Games and Cartoon Network. Alongside his commissioned work, he has always had an ongoing personal project. The following gallery of images takes an in-depth look at his “WAR-TOYS” project.

Since 2011, McCarty has been working with humanitarian organizations operating in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. With the assistance of professionals of expressive therapies, a series of sessions integrating play and art therapy were conducted with children who have been affected by the ongoing conflict, living on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian warzones. He traveled to these fragmented Palestinian Territories; the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the West Bank, to conduct his work firsthand.

The artwork created during the art therapy sessions is heart wrenching. The fears these children face on a day-to-day basis include missile attacks, fears of imprisonment, losing their families, air strikes and frightening scenes of death. The children became art directors for McCarty’s toy photography. Using toys purchased within these warzones, McCarty recreated the scenes in the drawings, set up in the actual locations that the children share lingering fears and witnessed tragedies.

In continuation of this project, McCarty plans to travel to Afghanistan, Sudan, and Colombia.

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brian mccarty photography wartoys project nailed magazineBrian McCarty is an internationally exhibited artist and toy industry veteran based in West Hollywood, California. His work has earned notable praise from such places as CNN, Wired, The New York Times, L’Uomo Vogue, The Telegraph UK, ABC World News, and The Huffington Post. His commercial photography roster includes pop-culture clients such as Disney, Hasbro, MTV, Kidrobot, Rockstar Games, and Cartoon Network. To learn more about Brian McCarty, you can visit his artist site: here.


Shenyah Webb

Shenyah Webb is the Arts Editor and a Contributing Editor for NAILED. She is originally from Detroit; she studied Psychology at Michigan State University, and later finished in Industrial Design with an Art Therapy minor at The College of Creative Studies. She lives and works in Portland with her husband and son. She is a visual artist, and musician under the name Lithopedion. Her self-titled EP was released in 2013.