British artist CRAWW’s new body of work ‘Incantation’ invites us into a dark and evocative ritual, as women dance with the dead and shades caress the living. The heroines in Craww’s work weave spells to honour the earth mother and bring forth abundance in the form of beautiful spring blooms that cover their bodies and the space around them. Embracing the cycles of life, death and rebirth, they appear shrouded in mystery as their bodies and elongated surreal limbs directly communicate their words of power. This elegant dance evokes a rich sense of mystery as if we the viewer are voyeurs watching a deeply personal communication with their goddess. The works both powerful and fragile, beautifully capture the strength of the feminine.
In this series we also see Craww’s signature crows – a spirit animal associated with life’s mysteries and magic. The crow is also a symbol of destiny, personal transformation and alchemy, which injects its own power and magic into Craww’s narrative, as well as acting as the heroines “familiar” deepening and expanding theirs.
“Space Between” seemed to paint itself. It was just one of those that seemed to work at every stage, from the initial sketches through to the final painting it felt right. I’m really happy with how it turned out, the balance of mood, the tone of the painting. It perfectly summed up everything that was in my mind at the time. It made a nice change not to have to fight every step of the way! ~ Craww
One of the new editorial’s in Beautiful Bizarre Magazine – the SNAPSHOT Q&A asks multiple artists the same questions. This format is wonderfully insightful as we get a peek into the hearts, minds and practices of different creatives working across different mediums and styles.
Art is a visual language, what are you hoping to communicate to the viewer through your work?
Mostly feelings and emotions, a mood or a moment. I paint from the heart rather than the head, things that I can’t express with words find their way out in my paintings and drawings, so it’s hard to be specific.
It’s more important to me that the work makes a connection of some sort rather than what that connections is. Hopefully each viewer finds their own story. My process is very indirect and I often don’t know what they are about until I’ve lived with the work for a while myself.
What do you hope to leave behind in the world through your art?
I’m not sure that I plan that far ahead! I don’t paint to leave a legacy. I feel that my work is a channeling process and that needs to be of the moment. I need to create it now.
If people continue to enjoy it in years to come then that’s a bonus, I would hope that collectors that have supported me and bought my art continue to enjoy it, continue to find moments of calm, beauty and a little mystery in it.
Other than that, my sketchbooks are very personal to me. Each mark and each page is a little bit of me at a moment in time. There’s a lot of them and hopefully even more in the future, I hope that they are something my son can look back on when I’m just a memory and he will have little moments of me preserved on the pages.
R: Masquerade (2018). oil on stretched canvas, 7.8 x 19.7″
What is the most challenging part about creating art for you?
All the little demons in my head that continually question the value and worth of what I’m doing! It can be incredibly hard to overcome at times. It’s a weird way to make a living for sure!
Just getting started on a piece can be a crisis of self-doubt but it’s just something you have to push through. Over the years I’ve tried to not second guess myself so much, to just “do stuff”- even if it’s doesn’t work out, it’s another step towards being the artist you hope to be some day.
It’s less on an issue in my sketchbook, which is probably why my Moleskine is a bit of a lifesaver. I don’t need to question or justify (to myself) anything that happens in there. Anything goes. I’d recommend a sketchbook to anyone!
I’m really stoked with “Invocation”. It’s quite a simple composition but one I struggled with for a long time. The face in particular, she must have about 10 different faces and heads in there somewhere. I’d finish the painting, then look at it a week later and I was never happy with the pose and the expression. I finally nailed it in a late night unplanned session. There’s also a few places in that painting where I tried really hard to not over-paint it.
It’s always a balancing act but I’m most happy when there’s an unplanned energy to the stroke. Her hair, her dress at the bottom, some of the flowers, there are a few marks that were totally unplanned, the remains of wiping paint off with a crusty rag, smudging things around, marks that I really like. It was also the first of the two largest oil paintings I’ve done, so there was a little trepidation, and a real sense of achievement when it was finished and I was happy. ~ Craww
Did you do formal study in the Arts? Did you find it helpful or a hindrance?
No formal education in Arts. I failed art in high school, but went on to work in advertising and graphic design. I think that has helped me indirectly and helps me find a balance and narrative flow in the composition of my work.
I think no formal education in art has probably helped me more than anything. I’ve found my own way of working that’s born as much from what I can’t do as what I can. If something isn’t working, I’ll find my way around it, probably in the wrong way but one that works for me.
I don’t know, I never had any training so I don’t know what I missed, but I feel my ignorance has helped me develop my own style!
Who is your biggest Art Throb and why?
There can’t be an answer to that, or rather there will likely be a different answer any day of the week.
There’s a whole world of amazing art out there. Hundreds of years of art, millions of people creating art, famous artists throughout history and people I’ve never heard of that I stumble across on Instagram. It’s impossible to narrow it down to one Art Throb, and also maybe a little limiting.
Or maybe I just haven’t found my art throb yet.
Also check out Patrick Shillenn’s [Arch Enemy Arts] previous interview with CRAWW – INTERVIEW: OC -VS- CRAWW, A SPECIAL EDITION OF OPEN CALL [A long form conversation with Craww, in which they discuss art, fear, uncertainty, Final Fantasy, the Super Bowl, getting a late start at an arts career, and other pressing matters.]