As a method of inquiry, making art is the means through which I explore the world's complexities, and what role I play within them.
In creating art, a recording of life experiences takes place. The results are visual, often narrative, and contemplative in nature. They do not have to be obviously biopic. In their entirety, my artworks represent my thoughts and concerns as an artist and human being.
Creating art is personal and requires effort. I don't know how to do it, otherwise. It is a form of social and intellectual interaction. Art is born of twin passions; the desire to understand and communicate.
The practice of art and painting is an intellectual inquiry. What an artist is seeking can be narrowly focused or wide-ranging in nature.
I use a wide range of paints, materials and techniques in my work. I particularly enjoy pointillism. But, I've always thought it self-limiting to ignore any medium or technique that draws my attention. It may not become a significant path of any creative inquiry, but I think it is nourishing just the same. I allow the thought behind the work to dictate its final form.
This is not always easy. Beginnings can involve false starts and lead to dead ends. Still, if I stay open to it, any unfinished works, beginnings and stray paths offer much to be learned. Just as those works I think successful, these 'strays' are of my crafting. They too, have something to say. There is an added depth, a richness to art, discovered in the process as much as the final product.
I am drawn to the medium of writing as an avenue to explore and understand the connections that exist between my work as an artist and life in general.
Verbal languages and visual images are both complex and nuanced. I strive towards finding and expounding on those depths consciously.
Texture is important to me. So is color and light. My subjects range from the representational to abstractions. I choose points of reference, a concept or seeds to propagate. Does anything grow from nothing? I imagine these creative seeds as planted, in the fertile and physical nature of the universe.
Many subjects in my work, are found in the natural environment. I am inspired by lifeforms, energy, the seen and the unseen. I am pulled towards both the microscopic and cosmic. I search for those things invisible in the hope of discovering something new about the easily discernable. In my role as an artist, the naturally occurring becomes the artificially constructed.
The image is not only an armature on which to hang, painterly marks. Marks are important, but so is creating work that is multi-dimensional in thought. Something that asks us to think.
My desire is to create art that moves back and forth, between physical space and mind. Art, that exists in both places at once. Conceptual, but honest about what it is - a flat, two or three-dimensional surface.
The dense, multiple levels of the world shape and inspire me. There is texture in the physical and the psychological.
I work with paint, plasters, mediums and a range of mixed materials. My sense of them is complex. Materials have a language to fathom as well as choosen subjects or objects. In both material and image, there exists an intersection to explore and engage with, in the practice of art.
The sense of touch is important in artmaking. One including both an ability to touch the physical and emotional. It is a touch that illuminates. The visual arts are optical in nature and fully capable of containing relevance beyond the picture plane.
Memory plays a role in my work. I understand memory best as a mental reconstruction of past events. Memories shape interpretations of the present and direct future actions.
It is the mind that shapes the lenses of perception through which we look at the world and those events transpiring around us. I am interested in how that too, impacts my ability to accurately interpret the external and internal.
A picture doesn't truly freeze a single moment of time. It is an impression of what was, or at best, what is. Art recycles and recirculates all that has come before. Life experiences, images, and techniques of communication all play together in that recirculation.
Aristotle said something I particularly like. He described memories not as archives of our lives, but as tools for imaging the future. That idea resonates deeply with me. I see art as a method to explore memory, life and find context.
The artist Enrique Martinez Celaya wrote:
“Being an artist is not a posture or position, but a way of being in the world and in relation to yourself. An artist is revealed in his or her choices.”
Live life, beautifully ...
Craig Allen Lawver