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12 Questions: Craig Hill

Craig Hill is a visual artist working in painting, collage, and mixed media sculpture. His work juxtaposes varied modes of representation, creating a visual mash-up that highlights how certain iconography expresses American belief structures. His work is filled with visual contradictions and playful circumstances that are arranged in a single anxious moment.

In combining his Surrealists interest in the unconscious with a postmodern sensibility, Hill create evocative works of art that are distinctively psychically charged. These multifaceted pieces are composed from cut or torn fragments from children’s coloring books or comic illustrations, and paper remnants. They often incorporate Disney characters and other recognizable cartoon icons. Images that are normally considered innocent and harmless are placed in illogical juxtapositions, resulting in a hybrid image composed of multiple parts.

Hill earned his BFA in Drawing from the Atlanta College of Art in 1998 and his MFA in Painting and Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2001. Currently he teaches painting and drawing as an assistant professor at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Hill has exhibited extensively, in group and solo shows in Washington D.C., New Orleans, Minneapolis, Boston, Atlanta, Providence, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and Columbus, Ohio.

1. What are 1-3 books that have influenced your life?

Life After God, by Douglas Coupland

Mythologies, by Roland Barthes

Remember: Now Be Here, Now Here Be, by Ram Dass

What are you reading or watching right now?

Mostly Graphic Novels

Unflattening, by Nick Sousanis

Poochytown, by Jim Woodring

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist, by Adrian Tomine

2. What are you currently working on? Are you able to create during the pandemic?

I am able to work during the pandemic, but it is hard for me to focus on just one thing. So, I am currently working on a comic, a print series, and some collage works.

3. How has failure set you up for later success? What was your favorite failure?

I really don’t look at things in regards to successes or failures. It is just life.

4. What is your most unusual habit?

I don’t know if this is that unusual, but I obsessively draw when I watch TV.

5. If you could have any painter, living or dead paint your portrait who would it be and why?

I would have to say Ivan Albright. The “master of the macabre” had amazing knack for capturing humans vulnerability to age, disease, and death.

6. What is the most indispensable item in your studio/workspace/office?

Right now, I am absolutely obsessed with drawing with Procreate. For years I was reluctant to use digital media for drawing, but I was shocked as to how realistic the brushes are and how similar the marks are to my “normal” analog drawings.

7. When you feel overwhelmed or uninspired what do you do? What do you do to get out of a funk? What questions do you ask yourself?

Go for a walk with my dog Rory. I do not ask myself anything, I just try to experience my surroundings.

8. What do you see as the artist’s role through this difficult time?

I am not really sure. I guess I would say it may be to provide an escape from reality.

9. Do you collect anything?

Toy. Lots and lots of toys.

10. What words of advice would you give to artists during this time?

Lay low and make art….It will make you feel better.

11. In the last five years what new belief, or habit has most improved your life or studio practice?

Making a schedule with dedicated work, family, and studio time.

12. Share an inspiring image.

Hill's work is available on ARTSY as a part of the ongoing online exclusive exhibition: Every Day Is Fun With Us. For more information about the work above visit ARTSY

James May Gallery

Dousman, WI


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