The eXTra finGer

...''He was counting on his fingers.One two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven.Eleven?Had he been born with an extra finger?''...

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Location: Italy

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Interview with Robert Craig

Q) So, can you tell me a little about yourself? Full name, age, some background info, etc?
A)My full name is Robert Emmett Craig Jr. My age is somewhere between 1 and 100.

Q)How did you get started making art?

A)Some of my teachers in the first grade suggested to my parents that I find a tutor. I did just that and wound up staying with him for 10 years

Q)How would you describe your art?


Q)Where do you get the inspiration for your art?

A)I don't know. I rarely look at anybody else's work lest it influence me in any way. I simply see pictures in my mind and then I paint them. Something may spark my imagination, such a toy, a photograph, a Comic book, a waffle, a vacuum cleaner, whatever, but most of it comes out of my head. I may see a single image, let's say a refrigerator. It's just such a wonderful image that I can build a painting out of that one object.

Q)What are you working on now?

A) I'm working on a 30x40" canvas of a cowgirl and a waffle.

Q)Are there some web sites that you would like to recomend? Artists, art communities, xxx,...!?

A)I'd recommend Jason D'Aquino, Amanda Wachob, Travis Louie, and Cam De Leon. I really don't look at other peoples sites very much. I live inside my own head.

Q)What's your favorite medium to work in, and why?

A)Acrylic. Because I just started to fall into it over the years. I'd really like to go back to oils but I'm too lazy.

Q) What advice would you give to younger up and coming artist?

A)Get a job you hippie freak!!! Aside from that, You can't make it for the love of money, and you can't make it for want of fame. The art game is a lot of hard work and sweat, so you have to love the sweat. Genius won't get it. The streets are littered with intellectual derelicts.Talent won't do it. The term 'Starving Artist' is so common, its become part of our vernacular.The one virtue that surpasses all others is 'PERSISTENCE'. Set a goal for yourself and don't stray or get sidetracked. Keep after that goal as if it were the holy grail. You will be discouraged from time to time, this is normal but don't quit!

Q)What is your personal definition of life and art and everything else in between?

A)I don't really ever think about life. I mean the profound stuff like where did we come from? What are we supposed to be doing here. Why are we here? Where Do we go after this? Is there a master plan behind all of this joy and suffering? Is there a God or gods?I did my seeking for the answers to all of this and now I have no more questions. About art.....I think the less said the better. But a good painting should hit you in the face like a hammer. For me, that takes skills like having a feel for composition, use of color, good rendering, accurate perspective, strong lighting, All the old school stuff. An example of someone who uses all this information would be Frank Frazetta.

Q)Take us inside your process a little bit. How do you begin a piece? What inspires the concept?
A)I never know where I'll find inspiration. It's actually there all the time. It's state of mind I'm in that can perceive everything as art. Usually, I can get off on a small figurines. I just bought a book on cookie jars that's chock full of inspiration.

Q)What are your artistic influences?

A) Like I said, Most of this stuff just comes to me without any effort on my part. I have a pretty good size toy collection that sometimes inspires me and music. When I hear Steve Vai really shredding his guitar, all sorts of wonderful images come to me.But as I said, it can come from thin air. Lots of good stuff comes to me right when I'm about to drift off to sleep. I have to get up get up a dozen times to make sketches and notes.

Q)How are the reactions on your work in general?

A)They're great. I get an abundance of praise. Every now and then I get one of these two exclamations : 'Holy shit!' or 'Oh my god!" I like being able to please people and bring some joy into this Mansonesque tsunami of woe.

Q)What are you doing when you are not creating art?

A)I grapple with giant squids. I usually pace back and and forth thinking about painting and before I know it I'm taking photos and gathering reference for the next piece. I do go to the bookstore occasionally, and I love sound equipment so I spend a lot of time playing with the floor models. I also love hunting for DVDs There are some movies that are literally 'moving pictures' They're art and I can see many times.

Q)What are some of the greatest challenges that you think artists face today?

A)How to make it financially ( have a job) and still be prolific. Another thing is that now, EVERYONE is an artist so there's more competition. And for Christ's sake, LEARN HOW TO DRAW!! I mean that in the traditional academic sense. Go to the museums. There's so much more to be learned from them than there is in School. Another thing is to start early like 5 or 6 years old.
Q)What is freedom to you as an artist?

A)Being able to wake up when I want and then paint what I please all day. I don't have to labor over anyone else's ideas. There's no one around to tell me what to do or when or how to do it. I do MY paintings. When I walk down the street, it's MY street. I own it, and everything around it.

Q) Are there any particular works you've done that stand out as your favorites?else's

A)Yes. I liked my 'ascension 2' and 'jinxs' quandary'

Q)Last Books you read?

A) The Shameful Life of Salvador Dali.

Q) Last records you bought?

A) 'Elusive Light and Sound' Steve Vai!!

Q)Who are your favourite artists & Your favourite galleries?

A) I guess my all time favorite artist is Michelangelo. I love Salvadore Dali. And in my genre, I'd have to say that Ron English really trips my trigger. There's so many more but those 3 really knock me out. I really don't get out to the galleries much (too political, hot and sweaty and loud) but here in NY, I like the Fuse. Overseas, I like the Birten Toublanc Galerie in Paris.

Q)Which do you think make good art good? originality, or style? And, why?

A)I think they should walk hand in hand, But I'm more impressed by style. I've seen some stuff that was totally original and it totally sucked. And I've seen mediocre concepts that shine out because they were well crafted. A good example would be that Don Eddy paints a bowl of fruit. Chuck Close paints a head. Heads and fruit aren't to exciting in themselves but for me, it's I could stare at them for hours because of the skill involved.I like realism and strength, good composition, great rendering, great sense of color I like a painting that shoots me in the face.

Q)Do you get emotionally attached to your work and do you miss your work when it is sold?
A) Sometimes, yes. I was going to say It's like losing ac child. But I DID lose my only child so selling a painting hurts just a little less by comparison.

Q)Your contacts….E-mail…links


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