KP Projects is proud to present Greg “CRAOLA” Simkins’ 8th solo show with the gallery: Let The Outside In.
Today, we live in a world of dizzying speed, exponential complexity, and ruthless competition. As adults, our imagination is intact, but boundaries prevent us from going beyond our rational minds. We set parameters, which if stepped over, would let us recapture the freedom and wonder of childhood creativity.
In Craola’s newest exhibition, the artist invites ‘The Outside’ world into the inner world of his imagination, where every character represents a new possibility, and every adventure inspires a rediscovery of innocence and wonder.
Familiar characters alongside creatures of the air, land, and sea, mix with newly emboldened “Starry Knights” and “Squires” that make their debut in the form of monochromatic studies. Star bats spread their wings under moonlit landscapes while fuzzy bunny-ring knights roll along dark hills through misty terrain. Kitron, the squire transformer cat made of porcelain teapots, clutches a butter knife sword, embodying a fierce but friendly hybrid of animal and object. Several of Simkins’ new characters reflect a kinship with Asian culture, and anime such as new bunny-kitty hybrid Phen Joi.
Simkins reinvents the still life In “Six”, a six-eyed white bunny sitting on a floating marble slab beside a monster filled wine bottle and skewered lobster. Beside him is a monarch butterfly sitting atop a peeled orange. Reminiscent of classical children’s books, Simkins once again pushes the boundaries of inventiveness through layered metaphor and symbolism. Through his signature style of rich brushstrokes and blended acrylic layers, the artist reinforces the veracity of his painted scenes through meticulous detail.
Like the pages of a story you’ve always wanted to read, so are the tales when you “Let the Outside in.” There is a thin veil between what we know and what we can imagine. I’ve always believed that if you can think it, you should paint it. Give an idea weight and importance, and then it can exist in the viewer’s imagination as well. This world, “The Outside” has been expanding in my waking and dreaming thoughts for years and it is my pleasure to introduce you to the myriad of characters, from the “Starry Knights” to the “Dragon Birds” and ‘Puppet People.’ Each holds a specific role and purpose in keeping this world growing. It is my desire to invite you into this imagination station called “The Outside”. - Greg CRAOLA Simkins
Greg Simkins was born in 1975 in Torrance, California. At age 3 his early attempts at drawing were inspired by various cartoons and later books such as Watership Down by Richard Adams, and The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. At the age of 18, Simkins started doing graffiti under the pseudonym “CRAOLA.” Graffiti became his impetus for painting and gave him the confidence to pursue large painterly works.
In 1999 Simkins received his Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art from California State University of Long Beach, and in 2005, after some time working as an illustrator, Simkins pursued his desire to paint full time. In 2016, he released the acclaimed animated short “I’m Scared: The Movie Simkins’ artwork currently appears in galleries and private collections throughout the world.