Thoughts: Michael Craig-Martin

In a very graphic-design-ish way, I find the works of Michael Craig-Martin visually pleasing. While I don’t know if I would go to a gallery to extensively view his work, I do enjoy looking at his paintings/sculptures/etc. online.

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I especially like the paintings he’s done where he gets in-depth in terms of overlapping objects, messing with size, scale, and color. These paintings feel so much more alive than the simple ones, and while it’s almost definitely intentional that the isolated objects are meant to feel stagnant, I much prefer the dynamic life of his juxtapositions.

When we watched the video about Michael in class today, I was surprised to hear him say that he doesn’t feel his process for art-making has changed over the years. When I first heard him say this, I took it to mean that he had found his final destination, art-wise, and that his works now are absentminded, done on autopilot. While it’s clear that he has a definite, unchanging style, I don’t think this means his process is fixed, or that he’s walking around like an art zombie. He’s clearly trying new things, even if they remain in the same style as his earlier works.

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These sculptures, for example, fascinate me, although they’re probably very close to being 2-D

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However, what I found to be most intriguing about Craig-Martin is that he’s written a book! I am a lover of books, so to find that he’s written On Being an Artist definitely piqued my interest. From what I gather, it’s similar to Stephen King’s On Writing, funnily enough; it’s part-memoir, part-instruction-manual. I’d love to pick up a copy, if I ever get around to finishing the other eight-bajillion books I have lying around.

Not as exciting was the discovery that he’s also made a coloring book. For me, this was a let-down. It feels so much less genuine than his other works, almost as though he doesn’t take himself seriously. It’s tacky, commercial. Blegh.

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On the whole, though, I enjoyed his works, his use of color, his distinctive style. It has a very retro, pop-art feel, despite some of it being so recent.

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