Greg “Craola” Simkins latest solo show ‘Cloud Theory’ at Merry Karnowsky Gallery, is once again a gorgeously lush series of mind-blowing surrealist works. His fans will not be disappointed by the oversized works with epic details that can not possibly be captured on the web. If you have the good fortune to be in LA this month, I hope you will stop by the show and drink in the works of one of the most talented living Master Painters this planet has known.
“Cloud Theory” Solo Exhibit
Merry Karnowski Gallery
April 21 – May 19, 2012
Opening Reception – Saturday, April 21st from 8-11PM
170 S. La Brea Ave
LA, CA 90036
Below are a series of details from the painting shown on the flier above. Words are not necessary to describe the brilliance. (courtesy of Juxtapoz)
Juxtapoz created this short video that reveals some of Simkins’ techniques. It’s a short, fascinating glimpse into his working style.
Despite my gandious descriptions of his staggering talents, Simkins is an extraordinarily grounded, approachable and dare I say “normal” person. When speaking with him about his inspirations and work habits they are not dissimilar from many of us, family, childhood and a desire to just work hard and have an honest ethic. What makes Simkins truly special is how he incorporates his own personal experience into highly unexpected scenarios that are beyond what many would ever dream up, yet anyone can understand completly.
Studio portraits by Rafael Ortega.
Simkins describes his thought process for his latest show, “Cloud Theory”:
As a child I used to play a game, which involved nothing more than lying on my back, staring at the sky. As the clouds formed and floated by, my imagination inserted characters into the story unfolding before my eyes. These clouds became the catalyst for what would become a lifelong compulsion to daydream and slip into other worlds merely by being outside.
While working out ideas for this exhibit, it became clear that clouds would be the foundation for each piece. By taking them out of the background and making them the framework for my ideas, I quickly discovered how “The Outside”—this world that I have created for myself—has consumed my subconscious. After years spent buried in books, learning about animals and oddities, heroes and villains, truth and fiction, “The Outside” has become an assortment of bizarre morphing creatures, winged observers, antique odds and ends, and tentacled heroes who have become my friends over the years. Simultaneously, “The Outside” has illuminated my secret desire of escaping this world with its politics, its trappings, and its stresses. These pieces serve as an intermission from the struggles of our world and bring back the heart of a kid, lying on his back, interpreting what he sees in the clouds, completely and utterly carefree.
Stuck Outside, 2012 (courtesy of Arrested Motion)
I have been a long time fan of Simkins’ work and have written about him before, including the exceptional group show INLE that he curated in 2011. I am constantly inspired that someone as extraordinarily talented as he is also on a constant quest to challenge himself and find new ways to tell his highly personalized stories that are so uniquely “Craola.”
In With The Tide, 2012 (courtesy of Daily Du Jour)
The Gangs All Here, (courtesy of Hi-Fructose)
A unique installation made by Simkins for his show.
Calm Before the Storm, (via Craola’s tumblr)
Warmest congratulations Greg for your ongoing success and thanks to Merry Karnowsky Gallery for sharing these new works with the world.