“BEYOND SHADOWS” SOLO SHOW BY CRAOLA
Next weekend, Craola will be having yet another of his famous solo shows at MK Gallery. Beyond Shadows represents a culmination of the diverse influences which drive Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins in his tireless pursuit of Art. From folk tales and back alley graffiti, to the early works of Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney, these influences come together in an intricate storm of kaleidoscopic colors, esoteric scenes, and artfully wrought textures.
Despite their disparate styles, a reverence for graffiti aesthetics, punk rock sensibilities, and formal painting practice all unify Simkins’ new works. His surfaces are meticulously layered and treated to achieve a weathered patina of old paint and tags, sometimes layered for years. This laborious process coopts the aesthetics of the dilapidated buildings and alleyways that serve as incubators for street based art, and allows Simkins’ works to breach the walls between his paintings, his audience, and the outside world.
Rebellious and sharply humorous, Simkins’ paintings overrun the pristine gallery environment with a riot of extraordinary characters. These range from photorealistic blue jays, to exotic flora and fauna hybrids like Yellow, a heavily tattooed lemon-octopus, or Stab E. Mack, a boisterous switchblade character of Simkins’ own creation. In stark contrast to these figurative works, a full exhibition of Simkins newly stripped back ‘Drip Scripts’ paintings that exploit the subliminal forces of shadow, light and monochrome tones for maximum effect, will be concurrently unveiled upstairs at LAUNCH Gallery. Sea foam textures, titanium white and inky black; their planes represent realms entirely divorced from the confines of reality providing a perfect yin-yang to the fantastical world below. It will be Simkins largest exhibition to date.