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Tiny heroes in the making

You might not think that the work of a local artist can be found in toy stores nationwide, but it's true. In fact, there's a chance that you or your kids already own some of his work.

Paul Harding creates, among other things, designs for action figures distributed by the thousands by toy companies. His home studio is adorned with the fruits of his labor. Harding says that he has created more than 100 figures since he started sculpting about two and a half years ago, and they run the gamut.

He has done work for Hasbro, DC Direct and Marvel Toys, giving him the opportunity to craft well-known superhero figures like Spiderman, Batman and Iron Man, as well as some more obscure icons, like a series of figures representing the cast of Animal House.

Harding will appear in Clifton Park at Grooms Tavern on Friday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m., where he will present a slideshow on his history and work and answer questions.

He'll also be giving out some free samples of his work. Organizers say a strong turnout is expected.

The Behind the Plastic event is part of a series of First Friday events at Grooms Tavern, located at the corner of Grooms and Sugarhill roads. A full list of events can be found at www.cliftonpark.org/townhall/groomstavern.asp.

The 32-year-old father of two works out of his Round Lake home. Although he has always been involved in art, his work has become more independent over the past few years.

Harding graduated from Syracuse University in 1998 after studying illustration. He landed a job in New York City as a multimedia artist for Iguana Interactive, and then made the move to motion graphics. His work involved creating logos and smart-looking Web presentations for clients.

When the company went under, however, Harding decided to strike out on his own and ply his trade independently.

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