Greg "Craola" Simkins
|Education||California State University, Long Beach (BA, 1999)|
|Known for||Painting, drawing, and graffiti|
Greg "Craola" Simkins (born February 28, 1975) is an American artist.
Education and early life
Greg Simkins was born in Torrance, California, slightly south of Los Angeles. His artistic ambitions bloomed at age three with drawings inspired by cartoons and books. Some of these works, such as The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, and Watership Down by Richard Adams, still find reference in his art. He grew up with a variety of animals, including a number of rabbits, which often appear in his paintings.
After graduating, Simkins went to work as an illustrator for several clothing firms before moving on to the video game industry, where he worked on games for Treyarch/Activision such as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, Spider-Man 2, and Ultimate Spider-Man. He made the leap to full-time artist in 2005.
At the age of 18, Simkins began doing graffiti under the name "Craola". Graffiti drove his inspiration to create and gave him the confidence and experience to paint large scale works. It also taught him color theory and perspective while further developing his artistic skills, as later demonstrated in his masterful work with acrylics.
Out of his love for the animal world he seeks to bring together unlikely camaraderies and conflicts from the landscape of his mind to the confines of canvas, paper, and walls. It is common to see deer with killer whales, puppies with crustacean pals, and birds sharing the air with rodents in his playfully ominous to ominously playful acrylic compositions informed by smooth, graffiti gradients and balanced layouts that draw the eye through story lines and little vignettes.
Simkins' paintings have been included in various narrative art exhibitions including the group shows Suggestivism at Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, Family Guy! at the Los Angeles Museum of TV & Radio, Street Cred at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, Visionary Art at Mondo Bizarro Gallery in Rome, Art from the New World at the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery in Bristol, England, Sons of Baby Tattooville at the Riverside Art Museum, and MasterWorks: Defining A New Narrative at the Long Beach Museum of Art.
Simkins' solo shows include: Good Knight, Stop Haunting Me, and Cloud Theory at Merry Karnowsky Gallery in Los Angeles; Inside the Outside at Joshua Liner Gallery in New York; a two-person exhibit with Lola at Galerie d'Art Yves Laroche in Montreal; The Pearl Thief at Gallery Nineteen Eighty Eight in Los Angeles; Seeing Things at FIFTY24/SF Gallery in San Francisco; It Wanders West at Gallery Nineteen Eighty Eight; It Wanders East at Joshua Liner Gallery; The Well at m modern Gallery in Palm Springs, CA; I’m Scared at Gallery Nineteen Eighty Eight; Don’t Sleep at FIFTY24/SF Gallery; and Ima Monsta at Gallery Nineteen Eighty Eight.
Simkins had his curatorial debut with INLE at Gallery Nineteen Eighty Eight in 2011, a show in which he also participated. The exhibit included art inspired by the book Watership Down by over 100 artists.
Publications by Simkins
- Simkins, Greg. (2011) Drawn From the Well. Presto Art. ISBN 978-0982404737.
- Simkins, Greg. (2013) The Outside. Presto Art. ISBN 978-0985063801.
Publications with contributions by Simkins
- Ganz, Nicholas & Manco, Tristan. (2004) Graffiti World: Street Art from Five Continents. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. ISBN 978-0810949799.
- Gibson, Jon M. and Klosterman, Chuck (2006) i am 8-bit: Art Inspired by Classic Videogames of the '80s. Chronicle. ISBN 978-0811853194.
- Beinart, Jon. (2007) Metamorphosis 2: 50 Contemporary Surreal, Fantastic, and Visionary Artists. BeinART. ISBN 978-0980323115.
- Weber, Diana. (2009) Juxtapoz Dark Arts. Gingko. ISBN 978-1584233619.
- Owens, Annie. (2009) Hi-fructose Collected Edition. Last Gasp of San Francisco. ISBN 978-0867197136.
- Spoor, Nathan. (2011) Suggestivism: A Comprehensive Survey of Contemporary Artists. Gingko. ISBN 978-1584234470.
- Ziegler, Tina. (2010) Hunt & Gather. Mark Batty. ISBN 978-0981960036.
- Smith, Kevin & Gallery 1988. (2011) Crazy 4 Cult: Cult Movie Art. Titan. ISBN 978-0857681034.
- Eaton, Tristan, and McCormick, Carlo. (2011) The 3D Art Book. Prestel. ISBN 978-3791345499.
- "Sunrise Artists Interview". Sunrise Artists. 20 July 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- "Inle Interview". Gallery 1988. 22 February 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- "Simkins CV". Joshua Liner Gallery. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- "Artist's Page". Joshua Liner Gallery. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- "Fecal Face Interview". Fecal Face. 24 October 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- "Indigits Interview". Indigits. January 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- "Suggestivism Exhibition in the OCWeekly". OCWeekly. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
- "Art from the New World at Bristol Museum". BBC. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- "Baby Tattooville Exhibition at Riverside Art Museum". Riverside Art Museum. September 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- "Masterworks: Defining A New Narrative". Long Beach Museum of Art. 10 September 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- "Cloud Theory Solo Exhibition at Merry Karnowsky Gallery". Juxtapoz. 20 April 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- "Inside the Outside at Joshua Liner Gallery". Artnet. June 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- "Seeing Things at FIFTY24/SF Gallery". SFWeekly. 19 January 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- "It Wanders Exhibitions". Beinart. 29 August 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- "The Well Exhibition at m Modern Gallery". Vinyl Pulse. 16 March 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- "Don't Sleep at FIFTY24/SF Gallery". KQED. 20 February 2007. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
- "INLE Exhibition". Daily Dujour. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2012.