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
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 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 perfect yin-yang to the fantastical world below. It will be Simkins’ largest exhibition to date.
In the words of the artist, “My artistic journey began as a child daydreaming and creating strange realms where anything was possible. It later turned into going on adventures, writing on walls in the shadows of night. What if those walls began to crumble? What would we encounter as we emerge on the other side? Would it be lands full of flying fish, giant birds, and Noble Knights? Would I belong or fit in? Journey with me over the wall as we discover what lies beyond the shadows." - 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. He has since been featured in numerous group and sold out solo exhibitions. His art is featured in everything from clothing to video games and toys. His client/collaboration list includes, among others, Disney, Mattel, Juxtapoz, Logitech, Vans, Converse, Electronic Arts (EA), Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Linking Park, Blink-182, Upper Playground, “To Die For Clothing”, and Dark Horse. Simkins’ artwork currently appears in galleries throughout the world.