Written by G Streat
Once known as “the dude that draws” Craig C. is making his mark, everywhere. From humble beginnings, doodles on scrap paper evolved into exhibitions, continued collaborations with his peers and partnerships with brands worldwide.
Beat Street is one of those classic flicks that never really got its due. An anomaly in Reagan-era America, Beat Street gave those who identified with hip-hop culture representation on the big screen. Do some digging, and you might find that your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper has seen it too many times to count.
The significance of a character like Ramo, a graffiti artist and one the story’s protagonists, is unequivocal. “At that time, I didn’t know what graffiti was or what street art was. But I knew there was something about those colors that he was using. I was like man, I would love to do that!”
Together with his brother, Craig drew comic book characters and doodled on scrap paper recreating what he saw. That was his foundation. “Developing my style, that just came with time. I never went to an art school or anything like that. I was practicing every day.”
Even after all these years, Craig’s enthusiasm for this work is stronger than ever. Beaming with pride he talks about a collaboration with 10-year-old author Bailey Moon, a book called Mr. Archie Is Missing.“The author’s mother contacted me through a mutual friend and said that she loved my work and asked me could I help her with her son’s book.”
“I was surprised that the author was ten years old. I’m like wow, ten years old?! I wasn’t even thinking about writing a book when I was ten, let really alone really doing it.”
Commitment to his craft isn’t Craig’s only calling. Craig remembers where he came from. “Growing up in the inner city, I’ve never seen an art related program for kids in the hood. I’ve got this talent I should be doing something with it.”
Atlanta went through it after Hurricane Harvey. Thinking about the needs of kids and their families Craig did what he does best, inspire with his art.
“Me and another artist got with a local art supplies place, went to the shelters, gave out the supplies and drew with the kids. One of the kids said that it was the best time of his life.”
Good vibes only. We could all learn something from Craig’s outlook. Even when he experienced rejection as a young artist, he stuck with it.
“One guy told me that I was too urban. I don’t even know what that means. I wanted to say, ‘you mean too black?!’ I just kept pushing with it.”
In addition to gaining recognition nationwide, his work has been featured in London and Mexico.
Although Craig hasn’t named his style, his breakdown of it evokes something soulful in the imagination. “It’s a mixture of African vibes and a little bit of street.”
It also appears that music is his muse.
“I’m always painting with music. That’s where a lot the vibrant colors come from. You see the yellows, and oranges and pinks. When I listen to stuff that’s a little more upbeat that’s when I use oranges and yellows. When I’m listening to stuff that’s more jazzy, that’s when you get more of the blues and purples and lavenders.”
A breath of fresh air, Craig has an infectious kind of enthusiasm about him. It’s easy to see why his fans show him love and understand why his work is in high demand. Keep him on your radar. Who knows where his work will show itself next.
To view more of Craig’s work visit www.craigctheartist.carbonmade.com