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Craig Alan

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Arguably best known – and immediately recognised as a contemporary figurative artist – for his iconic portraits formed by clusters of tiny people, the hugely popular and critically acclaimed Craig Alan has generated an impressive followings amongst fans, critics and seasoned collectors alike in recent years. Kick-starting his artistic career as a street artist in his native New Orleans – after his family relocated there a few years after he was born in California in 1971 – Alan has come an awful long way in a relatively short space of time. His erstwhile creative endeavours on the streets of his home city turned out to be the ideal proving ground for his versatile skillset which set him on his way to future stardom in his chosen genre. Back then though all Alan was concerned about was making enough money selling his portraits to passers-by so as to afford to fund new materials and so perpetuate his self-taught art education.

Having said that Alan had always dreamt of attending art college, and with the gift he demonstrated from an early age he had no trouble gaining a place at Alabama’s Mobile University to further his creative exploration in a more structured educational surround. As expected, Alan prospered during his time at art school, quickly accumulating awards as well as having an unprecedented number of his student artworks selected for a prestigious exhibition run in conjunction with his Uni; seeing 42 of his then works chosen to be representative from a potential field of in excess of 1,500 individual submissions. Not content on settling on just the one creative skillset, Alan also took it upon himself to study theatre design during his time at college, learning much about make-up and set design along the way so as to equip himself with a sound cross-section of artistic attributes to take forward with him on his life journey.

Ever since that juncture Alan has been continuing to hone his craft and to imagine, create and manifest something more than just your average portrait. Essentially what Alan has gone on to do and illustratively perfect is to represent his favoured figurative in an altogether new and previously unseen compositional fashion. What we see today through Alan’s best-selling and award-winning pictorial work is a collection of iconic and instantly familiar faces from popular culture crafted as an amalgam of other people for the most part. Take for example Alan’s most recent portfolio which comprises a series of unique and wholly inventive graphic portraits of famous figures whose visage appears to be composed of tiny pixels. Upon closer inspection, the spectator can see that the pixels are, in fact, more people.

This people-on-people or people-through-people approach, whichever way you look at it (and trust us, the potential perspectives are seemingly as limitless as the applied narratives), has proven to be massively successful for Alan. But therein lies part of the success. Aside from the stunning mindset and generous talent which puts the finished visual article together, the very fact that the interpretation is left with the viewer adds yet another unseen dimension to Alan’s hallmark studies.

There is without question links between long-established pop culture or historical idols and the general public, and to many observers there’s the idea that Alan’s conceptualising hints at these miniscule bodies which partly make up the sum total of his various iterations actually represent the fans; who in turn are individually and collectively responsible for ensuring that the actors and pop stars witnessed in the bigger pictures become the powerful forces that they are. Or an alternative theory suggests that we are in fact all connected to one another, and that much publicized whole six degrees of separation element. Whatever the case may be, the portraits are brilliantly executed, utilizing every minute figure and his/her shadow to represent the complete entity.

Alan continues to exhibit his artwork across the United States, where he has established himself as a singular voice in the visual arts industry.