Thursday, May 20, 2010

Artist Interview: Heather Craig

What is your name:

HMCraig, Heather Craig

Do you have a formal art education or are you a self taught artist:

I attended the New York State Summer School of Visual arts, and to Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute. Apparently, I am not supposed to go to schools with small or easy names.

What is the style of your pieces:

Contemporary realism with a side of expressionistic abstraction. Vibrant.

What is the medium in which you work:

Mostly acrylic, but every once in a while I paint in oils. I'm new to oils. I think that I will combine the two in the future.

What started you on your path as an artist:

I can't really remember that far back. I *do* remember one of my mother's sketchbooks. I went to school and told everyone she was an artist. She denies this (her being an artist). When I was in grade school, my friends would ask me to draw something for them. I think I drew a lot of unicorns. When I was in 7th grade, I was so bold as to bring Mucha's naked women into school.

What is one of the most important things that art has brought to your life:

It is, and has been a working identity. I've always been referred to as an artist .

What is your favorite genre of art besides the one you work in:

Oh, so much art, so little time... Luminism, Symbolism, Abstract Expressionism

Do you have art showings, and if so what are they typically like:

I haven't had a show for myself yet, but when I do.. I hope it's light and cheerful. The group exhibitions that I have been in have been overwhelming (many people, lots of conversation... hard to deal with for us brain injured).

Do you have a certain set of clothes you make art in:

In the summer, I wear inexpensive and colorful sundresses. I like to paint outside, and if I happen to get paint on them, no big deal. During the cold months, I'm a fan of yoga pants, sweatshirts, and wild knee socks.

What has been the most frustrating part of being an artist?

I have a lot of inspiration and ideas, and a shortage of time (rather typical, yes?).

What is your favorite sandwich of all time:

A lot of happy Summer memories include tomato sandwiches. Thick slice of tomato, whole grain bread, and a little mayo. I'm an adventurous vegetarian, and am always looking for new favorites (something Indian inspired, maybe?).

Has this year brought about any changes in your work, and if so what are they:

This past year, I got a mild Traumatic Brain injury. I was training for a half-Ironman triathlon, and when I was out doing an easy run, I tripped and hit my head. My neurologist declared me disabled, and said that there was "darn little" I could do. I couldn't watch movies, couldn't exercise, couldn't go to social gatherings, couldn't work...If I did any of those things, my cognitive abilities would suffer (for example, I wouldn't be able to follow a simple conversation). I got tired easily. The brain injury heavily affected my art. It kicked my creative side into overdrive. I *have* to paint. Because I have limited time (I sleep up to 15 hours a day because I'm recovering), and energy, my priorities have to be made pretty quickly. I'm working on a few projects right now, and a painting for Raisin Hope (Saul Raisin's Brain Injury organization) is on my easel. Painting makes me happy, therefore I need to paint. I've often said that it's the only thing now that doesn't give me headaches.

Who is your favorite artist alive or dead:

Janet Fish, Andy Goldsworthy.

What is the most moving piece of artwork that you have seen in person:

Hiroshi Sugimoto's Seascapes. Ralph Vaughn Williams' "Lark Ascending"

Do you have any animals, and what do they think of your work:

I have two dogs. One collie (16 yrs old), and a border collie mix (10 yrs). The collie, Sasha, lays down by me when I paint. The border collie, Beans, has been known to get behind the easel and poke her head out under the painting when I am working. I think they are more concerned that I am stationary and an easy target for toys (they are obsessive about that). Beans has been known to get into my paint. She sported a cadmium yellow streak on her tail once.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions you would like to share with us:

Currently, my work has been juried into the Northeast Prize Show, Cambridge Art Association. In August, a small piece is being shown at Gallery KG52 in Stockholm, Sweden. Upcoming events will always be posted on my blog.

If you are an artist or gallery and would like to be interviewed email

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