Biography: Gary Craig
Growing up in the rural woodlands of Missouri, Gary Craig developed two great passions, art and nature. His first paintings were of trees, animals, and the play of natural light. Throughout his formative years he always remained close to nature, painting everything that captivated him. This love he carried with him when his family moved to California in the mid 1960's.
One of the greatest sources for his growing mind was his parents’ library, where he spent many hours mesmerized by books of ancient art and cultures. His special loves were ancient Egyptian art and architecture, the Greeks and Romans and French Impressionists. After attending the University of California, Santa Barbara, his real education began in the early 1970's when he moved, for five years, to a small but sophisticated island in Greece. His 20’s were seeped in this rich mix of cultures that expanded his artistic vocabulary. The clear light, the rugged whitewashed houses and the great variety of people from all over Europe opened this young adult eyes to a much wider view of life and this taste for discovery and adventure never left him. After leaving Greece, he traveled between San Francisco and Europe for the rest of the decade absorbing the richness of Paris, Rome and London. Everywhere he studied and painted, developing his talent. Haunting the museums, soaking up the cultures and the antiquities and all the flavors, gave his palette, his mind more depth and color.
Returning to San Francisco, he worked mostly by commission as a portrait painter. His first one-man show at the Ivory/Kimpton Gallery in 1983 was highly successful, leading to many commissions from social leaders of the city. His reputation flourished and he expanded his range beyond portraiture exploring surrealism and abstract painting, early favorites of his childhood.
Now in his early 30’s, the beginning of the 1980's were spent amidst the beauties of the Napa Valley wine country, where he painted many of his portraits while exploring sculpture and abstract bas-reliefs, some on a very large scale. In 1986 Craig moved to the Pacific Northwest to pursue and incorporate spiritual studies into his work. These were tumultuous years of dedicated study on expanding the mind and spirit and he truly stepped back from the worldliness of his former years to pursue and deepen his understanding of Life. A continual process of building and tearing down, over and over, searching for the richness of enlightenment, only to find it by returning, in the end, to himself. New and burnished and seasoned.
During the past decades he has returned, with new eyes, to his original passions, experiencing the forms and colors of the world around him. "I need to express myself through different media and styles. They all have a different eloquence and emotion. My interests are too broad to ever confine to one style or form of creation".
After many years of painting commissions, in 2015 he had a one-man show in Santa Barbara at The Gallery Montecito showcasing his recent abstract works. Currently he is exploring a new dialogue between abstract and figurative painting.