Monday, May 18, 2009

Practicing what he Preaches: Craig R. Norton

While we're speaking about art not being able to exist in a vacuum (see the last post about my digestive tract), I might as well introduce the work of artist/activist Craig Norton. Just when you start to believe the art world is full of scumbags and con artists (con 'artists' being the most appropriate term indeed), you meet someone like Norton who restores your faith in the whole crazy milieu; someone who actually makes work and lives his life in ways that complement on feed each other, and improves the state the the world for those around him.

Craig Norton makes beautiful mixed-media installations/drawings/collages/paintings. He's completely self-taught and makes art about a cause, social justice, which drives him forward. He works to improve his community in his free time. He's really nice to people (even the meager assistants working at his galleries!)--no ego, no nonsense, just a burning desire to make art that will make people think.

The real point here isn't that Mr. Norton should win a Mr. Congeniality award, it's that his work is amazing. He collages pieces of paper and wallpaper samples with delicate ball-point pen stipple drawings to create figures and animals with a uniquely jarring beauty. Norton compiles these figures into allegorical tableaus of which criticize social injustices of the past and present.

Check him out though his gallery:
or on his personal site:

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