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Wacom Cintiq Pro

Craig & Karl’s latest work is featured in an ad for Wacom Cintiq Pro, a high resolution display designed with artists in mind, allowing them to draw directly on screen, with the feel of pen and paper.

Craig & Karl’s latest work is featured in an ad for Wacom Cintiq Pro, a high resolution display designed with artists in mind, allowing them to draw directly on screen, with the feel of pen and paper.

Working in collaboration with ad agencies iris and Hazel Brands, they created the piece using the Wacom screen and its accompany pen. You can see the results here.

Wacom

 

 

 

 

Guatemala City installation – Showcase ITCH

‘Optimystic’ is a new installation by Craig & Karl in Guatemala City, created for Showcase ITCH, an annual festival that brings together both local and international artists.

Craig & Karl roll out the multi-coloured carpet in Guatemala City

‘Optimystic’ is a new installation by Craig & Karl in Guatemala City, created for Showcase ITCH, an annual festival that brings together both local and international artists.

The installation is a modern take on the centuries-old custom of sawdust carpets. Traditionally the carpets are created on city streets as a pathway for ceremonial processions, and ‘Optimystic’ is Craig & Karl’s new take on this important ritual.

Craig & Karl: “Locally, the sawdust carpets are expressions of faith and community created in a celebratory atmosphere. In creating one, our aim was to adopt and extend these basic precepts, introducing our viewpoint and taking it somewhere new that felt relevant to our lives, without wholly severing a connection to their traditional role within Guatemalan culture.

Within our work, optimism is a fundamental tenet and ultimately what we endeavour to convey by message or example or both. Vis a vis, our carpet is quite simply an expression of faith in optimism. Our creative act is inherently one of optimism; it imagines a better, richer, more enlightened world. And, with the world in increasing disarray, it seems a timely message – more than ever a sense of optimism is required.”

The exhibition runs until 2nd December at Fox International Channels, Avenida Las Americas 16-76, Guatemala 01013, Guatemala.

Photography credit: Juan Rojas Benavides

Craig Redman

The greater public know you from the work you create as half of Craig & Karl, but for those who don’t know, you also create beautiful canvas paintings of your own.

Can you tell us a bit more about your paintings and when you started creating artwork? Plus, the medium you work with.

The paintings are an extension of my work with Craig & Karl, both visually and conceptually. I’ve been painting for a long time, but have been focusing on it more in the last three or four years. Overall, my paintings are a study of aesthetics, colour and pattern, amongst other evolving ideas, and they give me a reprieve from other people’s input, a chance to experiment without anyone watching. I work in acrylics pretty much exclusively, either on wood panel or canvas.

Do you have any key inspirations for your work, or a major influence in any way?

I’m inspired by all the usual things – a cute kitten video, a mega installation at The Whitney, two people yelling at each other in a restaurant. What motivates me most to paint is that it allows me to fully explore a theme or idea, rather than having to rush a piece out and move quickly on to the next project. I’d be happy painting my flower paintings forever. They might seem pretty superficial on the surface (and maybe they are) but I try to inject some subtle darkness into the work by using the flowers as narrative elements. Often, there will be a flower that is wilting or moving in the opposite direction or lagging behind and there are multiple ways you can read it – loneliness, exhaustion, social and economic ills etc. It’s up to the viewer to inject their own story into the work and come to a conclusion based on their own experiences, if they so choose.

There seem to be a few main elements in your work – either flowers, pure colour blocks or shapes. Can you tell us a bit more about this?

Those elements are my focus at the moment, but ideas for different directions pop up all the time, particularly when I’m working on a piece. By next week it could be something different. The colour-blocked pieces are my take on colour-field paintings à la Ellsworth Kelly or Rothko. At first glance the pieces emphasise the simplicity of form and read as blocks of colour. And then you look closer and see there is a more complex narrative emerging beneath, often ignoring the boundaries of the colour-blocking over the top. It’s both a massive reduction and an over-complication at the same time, a merger between things that don’t necessarily belong together.

Shown here are four pieces of work that you’ve selected. Can you tell us about each and their titles?

‘So You Think You Can Dance’

Beyond the colour blocking, this is a painting I did based on a sketch I did of my coffee table littered with takeout, with the TV blaring in the background. It became a painting about identity in a way, exploring banality and reality as opposed to the vision of ourselves we project to the world.

‘Untitled’

I did this painting after I’d just done a show in Portland called ‘Third Parties’. In that show I did portraits of my friends and then obscured their faces behind super simple geometric shapes, which was a commentary on an internet privacy law that had just been passed allowing people to hide certain parts of their lives from search results. This painting is an extension of that idea, but I was interested in using these faux scribbles to deface the portrait behind them. The scribbles are so controlled and uptight, I’m completely unable to let go that much, but I liked the idea of painting this entire portrait and then almost covering the whole thing up again, leaving just suggestions of the subject’s personality peeking through the gaps.

‘Rob (Stalking)’

‘Ebony (Peeking)’

These two paintings are from a show I had at Lamington Drive last year called ‘Short Lived’. The exhibition was a study of everyday gestures and expressions, an examination of ordinary moments distilled down to their simplest forms. These painting are essentially my friends caught in the midst of unassuming acts — eating, contemplating, smoking, waving hello — and they’re cropped to pinpoint only the most essential components.

‘Untitled’

For this variation on the flower paintings I decided to do some colour studies at the same time and ended up liking how some of the studies sat next to each other. The sameness versus the differences is what makes it intriguing I guess.

 

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Getting to know Craig & Karl

We chat to the new artist duo to Breed, Craig & Karl.

Getting to know Craig & Karl. We chat to the new artist duo to Breed, Craig & Karl.

For those who don’t know you and your work, can you explain how you work as a duo, and what your work is about? Plus, tell us when and how you started working together (Craig is based in New York and Karl is in London).

We met in the first year of our degree at the Queensland College of Art in Australia (where we studied design), and more or less worked on every project together from the first semester to the last. Pretty much straight out of university we started a collective with three friends, called Rinzen, which we were part of for 10 years. About five years ago we left and officially started Craig & Karl. Somewhere in the middle of all that Craig won a green card and moved to New York and we had to figure out how to work together from different sides of the globe. But having worked side-by-side for so long we didn’t find it to be too much of an adjustment, we just kind of got on with it. A while after that Karl moved to London.

Even though we live in different cities, we really work in tandem, constantly discussing ideas for projects and sending things back and forth. Our work is very much a reflection of our personalities and sense of humour. We think it’s important to have a point of view and try to get that across as much as possible.

Do you think there are advantages to working together in this way, and how would you say you complement each other in the way you produce work?

There are. We get to be present in two places and cultures at the same time and can bring different references or understandings to the table. We instinctively get each other, which makes operating in two different cities across the Atlantic workable. Often it’s simply about getting a fresh set of eyes and perspective on something we’ve been working on. One of us might have a general idea for something and the other can come at it from a different angle and we’ll end up somewhere new and unexpected. That’s what keeps it interesting and exciting. It’s all a conversation.

You work internationally on projects, in the UK (Breed is just representing Craig & Karl in the UK), USA, Europe and Australia – could you highlight some of your favourite projects over the last year? Any projects you’re excited about releasing over the next few months?

Last year we created a giant installation in Chengdu, China. The piece was made from 13 tonnes of candy pieces and covered nearly 14,000 square feet. It was part of an exhibition curated by Hong Kong-based AllRightsReserved to bring awareness to the plight of underprivileged children in rural areas. Our piece celebrated the Chinese New Year in a festive and celebratory way and the artwork within the candy carpet encompassed a variety of symbology, from blooming flowers which symbolise good luck to stylised pandas (Chengdu being their home town). Another favourite was our capsule collection of beauty products made in collaboration with Sephora. We have some other installation work in the pipeline that we’re looking forward to realising this year. Unfortunately we can’t really say much about it at the moment.

Your mural work is also very striking. Is this of particular interest to you and a medium in which you like to work?

For sure. The scale and immersion of mural and installation work are really appealing to us. They literally add another dimension and are interactive on a whole other level. We’re always excited to work in a different medium or towards a new kind of outcome. It helps to keep things fresh.

It’s an obvious question, but what inspires you in the way you create?

It’s mostly about being influenced by the world around us, rather than intentionally searching for inspiration. Sometimes it might be something random we come across while digging around on Google Images that sparks an idea. It’s more often real world stuff and popular culture as a whole that triggers something though. We tend to cast the net pretty wide in that regard. Just trying to be receptive to interesting or amusing connections that we can play around with.

To see more of their work see their portfolio section Craig and Karl

(A portrait of the pair is shown here)