Here we are at the end of the road. This is, most probably, the last interview in a series of interviews featuring the artists of “New Blood. Old Money.”

Fifteen Artists were represented in the show. This is the twelfth interview.

Not all of the artists made it in on time, but as we all know, time marches on.

You see, this show closes this Saturday, September 17th. That means you literally have only three more opportunities to see this show in its entirety. We, at Kettle Art, suggest you get down to Deep Ellum pronto to check out some great art.

So, without further delay, we bring you the last virtual sit-down for “New Blood. Old Money.” where we have a quick chat with Brian A Crawford.

 Brian A Crawford

Brian A Crawford

www.crawfordartworks.com

 

Kettle – Tell us a bit about yourself (give a brief bio).

Brian – Well, I grew up in Oklahoma around the Tulsa area. I was fascinated by comic books as a kid, and always envisioned becoming a comic book artist. You could always find me drawing. My sketchpad was always nearby. As you might expect, art was my favorite subject in school & my dream was to attend Kansas City Art Institute after high school.

However, I was plagued with two nagging thoughts. How would I (really, my parents!) afford the Art Institute? How would I make a living creating art after attending college? Since I couldn’t resolve those two questions as a seventeen year-old kid, I settled on a state school & a major that would provide me with a decent living after college.

During this time I pretty much abandoned art. About the only artwork I produced was a design for a fraternity sweatshirt. The same could be said for the years following my graduation from college.

It wasn’t until after getting married in 2000, at the urging of my wife, that I started to dabble in creating art again. One class led to another until I was hooked. I even had the rare opportunity to return to school at CCCCD & UNT to work on a BFA in 2004 & 2005. Although I still find myself about 20 some-odd hours short of my degree, it was an experience that I will never forget. It was such a great time to be connected with other artists & to receive training & instruction from some great, seasoned artists. It was that re-introduction to the arts that has essentially put me where I am today.

I feel really blessed to be where I am. I currently have the best of both worlds. I have a great “day job” with a group of people with whom I really enjoy working that is a direct result of receiving my first degree outside of the art realm. It’s also that “day job” that allows me to raise a family & pursue this newfound passion for creating art. It’s my hope to continue this path indefinitely into the future as my work continues to grow & evolve.   

And These Three Remain ... Faith, Hope & Love

And These Three Remain ... Faith, Hope & Love

Kettle – The name of this show is titled, “New Blood, Old Money”. Which are you, “New Blood” or “Old Money”? 

Brian – I really struggle answering this question. You see, I totally feel like “New Blood.” Although I’ve been associated with Kettle for a while now, I still feel new to the scene. This might be because I don’t live anywhere near Deep Ellum. I’m totally out in the suburbs (McKinney). This makes it hard to stay connected with all the regular “Kettle Crew” that have been associated with the gallery for years.

I also feel like “Old Blood,” because I HAVE been associated with Kettle for a few years now. I first came in contact with Frank & the gallery in 2007 when there was a call for artists for a mural competition in Deep Ellum. I worked for a week on a study of Leadbelly to enter in the competition & ended up being selected to participate. That was such a cool experience. I had never painted a mural before & was totally intimidated by the process. Frank gave me a few pointers during the week & a lot of encouragement as I battled the heat while painting my mural. I guess it paid off because I ended up receiving third place in that competition. That mural is still up on the side of the old Elm Street Bar at Elm & Crowdus.

I returned to Deep Ellum the next year for another mural competition. This time I painted a much larger mural on the backside of the Door on Main Street. Entitled “Deep Ellum Koi,’ it depicts two koi fish encircling a yin-yang symbol with kanji-script of the word “deep” in the center. I received third place in that competition as well.

In 2009, I returned to Deep Ellum once again to participate in the Deep Ellum Mural Project where murals were painted along Good-Latimer to commemorate the opening of the Green Line Dart Rail Line. The mural I completed for this project is entitled “Gateway Koi.” It depicts two large koi leaping out of water over lily pads and flowers. It is located at Swiss & Good-Latimer. I had a blast painting that mural even though it was painted mostly in 100+ heat during the month of July. You can watch a documentary of that project here. (The documentary is courtesy of Hard Sun Productions)

It was through these early introductions to Kettle through the mural competitions that I began to display some of my work at the gallery. 

And These Three Remain ... Faith

And These Three Remain ... Faith

Kettle – So, what intrigues or excites you about exhibiting at Kettle Art?

Brian – I love the venue & I love the people. Frank really has put together a great place that allows local artists to “cut their teeth,” so to speak. It also allows artists the chance to experiment and really find the direction they want their work to go.

It has been great getting my pieces ready for this show & to be able to put them up next to other artists I respect & admire.    

And These Three Remain ... Hope

And These Three Remain ... Hope

Kettle – How long have you been associated with Kettle Art? What past shows have you shown your work? Which one was the most memorable so far?

Brian – I’ve been associated with Kettle since 2007. At first, it was mainly through the mural competitions & projects, but I have slowly begun showing other work as well. In 2009, I had paintings in three shows; “Birds Vs. Skulls,” “To Be Scene” & “The Whole Show.” In 2010, I participated in “For the Love of Kettle” & “Holiday Presence.” This year, I showed in “For the Love of Kettle” again & this show, “New Blood. Old Money.”

I would have to say that the most memorable so far would be this show, because this is the first show at Kettle where I have painted several large paintings specifically for one show. It also marks a time in my life as an artist where I have seen tremendous growth. It’s also really nice (and humbling) to have my work displayed along side some of the artists that I have admired for quite a while now.

“For the Love of Kettle” shows are also memorable because of the atmosphere. The scene of hundreds of people crowding into the gallery to snag their favorite piece art for dirt cheap is something to behold. There are always over a hundred works of art that are usually sold within the first hour or so of the doors being opened on opening night. It’s a really fun time. 

And These Three Remain ... Love

And These Three Remain ... Love

Kettle – How many pieces do you have on exhibit for “New Blood. Old Money.”? Can you tell us a little about each one?

Brian – I have six pieces on display; two triptychs.

The first triptych is the one I referred to earlier. Its a large piece consisting of three 18″ x 36″ x 2″ paintings that depict koi fish swimming over a large area of geometric patterns that exhibit signs of wear and a distinct patina in areas. It is entitled, “And These Three Remain … Faith, Hope & Love.” The title is taken from the references to scripture from 1 Corinthians 13 that are included within the painting, as well as, references to the words faith, hope & love depicted within the painting using kanji-script.

The second triptych is much smaller. It consists of three 9″ x 9″ x 2″ paintings that depict koi fish leaping out of water over the words faith, hope & love written either in English or kanji-script.

Faith, Hope, Love (FHL Triptych)

Faith, Hope, Love (FHL Triptych)

Kettle – Where did you find the inspiration for these pieces?

Brian – As you might infer from the previous question, a lot of my work draws inspiration from scripture. I find words to be extremely powerful. They can build up or tear down. They leave permanent marks once they leave the mouth or are typed on the keyboard; either for good or bad. Words have consequences. When it comes to words, scripture is foundational.

I have always been drawn to the use of words within art. Jenny Holzer’s work always comes to mind & it has definitely influenced me. I also like Sergio Garcia’s recent works where he employs the use of words that create phrases that are just a bit off. Good stuff, indeed.

I also have found inspiration from Asian culture. I started painting koi fish back in 2007 when a good friend asked me to create three paintings for a restaurant he was opening up in Seattle. After that experience, I became intrigued with the use of kanji script & with koi fish in general. I have continued painting koi fish because of their beautiful form, and because of the symbolism that can be associated with them. Because koi fish symbolize good fortune, love, courage, and are also associated with perseverance in adversity and strength of purpose, I continue to paint them while working relevant scripture into each painting.

I also find inspiration in aged things; The patina found on aged metal & the multiple layers of paint you might find peeling off of an old door. 

Faith (FHL Triptych)

Faith (FHL Triptych)

Kettle – Were you able to attend opening night for “New Blood. Old Money.”? What was your favorite part of the night? What pieces really stood out to you?

Brian – Yes, I was. My favorite part of the night was just being able to hang out with so many people & get to talk about art. I really enjoyed talking with the other artists in the show & having the opportunity to talk with one of my old instructors, Merry Fuhrer, who continues to offer guidance & encouragement to me.

All the pieces in the show were outstanding in their own right, but I did gravitate to a few choice works throughout the night.

I found the work of Kettle newcomer, Tony Reans, to be outstanding. His “Flash Gordon” pop art pieces that incorporated old Flash Gordon comic strips were so very well done.

I also enjoyed the work of curator, Clint Scism. I am totally amazed at his ability to suspend his graphic illustrations between layers of glass to produce such beautiful works.

Of course, I should also mention the work of Richard Ross. His work seems so simplistic, but I could never produce anything like it. He makes it look like the neighbor kid could have done it, but upon closer inspection you see many layers of color & a complexity all of it’s own.

Kelsey Kincannon’s work was also a highlight for me. There is just something about animals wearing suits that makes for good art! (seriously, they are wicked good) 

Love (FHL Triptych)

Love (FHL Triptych)

Kettle – Will you be showing with Kettle again?

Brian – Most definitely!

Kettle – Do you have any other shows coming up where one could see your work?

Brian – I don’t have any shows planned as of yet, but I do expect that I will have a couple pieces at “Holiday Presence” again this year.

I also have a couple other projects in the works. These projects will be a bit of a departure from the koi pieces I have been doing for the last couple of years, but the will still incorporate bold earthy colors, geometric shapes & scripture. You will just have to wait until the projects are underway to see how they unfold. 🙂

Hopefully, you can watch these projects unfold on my blog.

Hope (FHL Triptych)

Hope (FHL Triptych)

Kettle – What is in the future for you and your art? Do you see yourself or your art developing in any particular way in the near future?

Brian – I hope over the next year to start working in a much larger format. I want to really loosen up my paintings, add texture, and move more toward abstraction. I’m not exactly sure how that is going to unfold, but I do have a few things planned out in my mind already.

Kettle – Where else can one find your work? (online or otherwise)

Brian – you can find me & my work online at the following places:

Website: http://www.crawfordartworks.com

Blog: http://www.crawfordartworks.com/blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/brian.a.crawford

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/CrawfordArtworks

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/bacrawford

“New Blood. Old Money.” is still up, but the show closes this Saturday, September 17th. So, get down to Deep Ellum and see it while you still can. 
 
Next up at Kettle is a show that has everyone buzzing. Campagna 2 opens September 22nd featuring the art of father-daughter duo, Frank & Amber Campagna. It is most definitely a show that should not be missed!
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