It was around this time last year I paid a visit to the Grays Degree show and bumped into a face from my past. As naieve 17 year old I started my first job washing dishes in an old folks home. The job was mundane but the residents were full of stories and helped pass the days. My boss at the time was none other than Craig, a slightly younger and more stressed out version of the artist I know today, tasked with managing a small group of reprobates while also cooking for the 50 odd residents. I was actually shocked when I met him at the art school all these years later, his enthusiasm the same but the stress from the previous years long gone. With many of these big catering companies you find people tend to make it a job for life, a sad prospect and knowing even back then Craig was a creative soul it felt like one of those magic moments, seeing him again pursuing his passion.
Fast forward a year from the Degree Show and Craig has a solo show of new and reworked pieces at Seventeen. Craig's Degree Show was one of my favourites from that time and I've been avidly following his instagram feed to see what comes next and 'Surface Crush' is a perfect showcase of his progression. Creating mostly abstract compositions you'd be forgiven for not seeing beyond the colours and shapes but there's a huge diversity in this new body of works. Retaining some of his signature motifs from last year but also expanding and exploring new shapes and forms, the show is a beauty.
'With the exhibition, Surface Crush, I hoped to showcase my interest in process-driven, non-objective painting. The work is characterised by textured mark-making influenced by the nature of the support surface. The images themselves develop as I work on them and are seldom pre-conceived. I may however return to forms and motifs in different works. Circles and ovoids, for instance, reoccur frequently in different guises.
My aim with the work is to enjoy creating it and hope that it connects with the viewer on their own terms. Although I take time to title the works, it is up to the viewer to find their own interpretation. I personally do not relate to representational or conceptual work and prefer to leave my paintings as open-ended artefacts.'
Its been great to see Craigs journey and find out about his work. In a time full of hollow motivational instagram up dates about following your dreams, I think Craig is the real life version. And perhaps dream is the wrong word, maybe just keeping your creativity going, keeping inspired and making sure you have a good shed to escape from the kids once in a while to make some art is the real motivational goal!
'Surface Crush' runs til 5th August, go see it!