works Craig Stevens
Center for the Arts | Dalton Gallery
121 E. Main St. | Rock Hill, SC
May 1 - June 14, 2020
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Influenced by the signs of the times, Craig Stevens' layered works underscore the passage of time, memories that remain, and the shadows of a life once lived and how their influence shapes the person one becomes.
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Craig Stevens builds time capsules communicating messages, obvious & hidden, cobbled together from life changing experiences & his years in advertising. These mash-ups combine iconic images in layers for each individual to explore & experience in their own way.
Stevens' work comes from a general realization that time moves on leaving fragments and pieces of memory and experience that communicate in messages we may not be aware of on the surface. Billboards, like memory, were recycled and repainted with no regard to what lies underneath. From this, he noticed an abstract communication arise, often not in any order, forming interesting shapes and images left behind by the different pieces of the previous ads. Over the years, while painting over old ads on billboards outside, Craig might come across layout lines of a painter, different styles or techniques that he hadn’t seen before laid down 5-10 years prior. The current work started to take shape while exploring this “puzzle” or “layering” type of communication. These small billboards are “mash-ups” of images and lettering similar to the layering Stevens encountered while working on billboards. There is a history, a process, and layers intentionally left for the viewer to discover, creating a visual time capsule of what came before. All the while capitalizing on the juxtaposition of iconic images of consumerism, all things that aren’t good for us, with human faces - rapacious and almost manic looking.
Craig Stevens was born in 1960 in the small town of Perkasie, PA. He gravitated to drawing at an early age by trying to copy illustrations of his favorite books. As his interest and ability grew he looked for other learning experiences starting with the Famous Artists School (yes, he drew the pirate). Through the Barnstone Studios, a generally realist and classically based private school, he found his love for figure drawing. This foundational training informs his work to this day. He has continued to work towards completing his “official” education attending Kutztown University, Moravian College, and most recently Coastal Carolina University, but his education as a professional sign painter, specializing in billboard pictorials, has influenced his work and aesthetic. Currently, he holds a position as Creative Director of Coastal Outdoor Advertising while pursuing his life-long ambition of being a full time working artist.
Catawba River Art Guild 20/20 Exhibition | more info