“Observing Observing (a white cup): Joe Crookes”

With each exhibition, we will post interviews with the participating artists along with a photo of said artists in their studios and images of their work. In the future, we will post videos of artist interviews.

“Observing Observing (a white cup)” opens September 12th and continues through October 31, 2015

Curated by Eric Elliott, Michael Howard & Norman Lundin. More than twenty artists (both gallery artists and not) accepted the invitation to submit work.

Reception for the artists, Sept. 12, 2 – 4 pm

Artist Interview #27: Joe Crookes


1. How did you respond to the idea of the white cup?

A good lesson. My first attempt involved a lot of photoshop doodadding. And believe me there is a whole lot of doodads to be had there. But then this was about a white cup not psychedelic concave flying through space… So I went toward cupness until I got an image that felt more interesting and realistic.

2. Are you a full time artist, if not how do you support your art?

I started working on houses just to temporarily support my art habit; thirty years ago. The art mags spread delusions about big money in the field but even those fortunate enough to have a gallery RARELY make it on their work alone. Chihuly is the only one that comes to mind.

3. When did you consider yourself an artist?

It’s a loaded word. One can work as a artist without ever producing art. To say; “I am an artist,” sounds presumptuous. But I guess I first got an inkling at The University while taking graduate level creative writing classes. Certain published teachers recognized a talent in me.

4. What are your influences?

I traded carpentry to Greg Kucera for his commission on a Frank Okada painting hanging in my living room that informs my abstract work. I draw inspiration from different artists for different projects. When I photographed the ironwork erection for both stadiums in Seattle I THOUGHT OF Lewis Hine. When I shot architecture details I might harken to Paul Strand.

5. How big is your studio, what kind of lighting?

I have a printer set up overlooking my back yard in Wallingford. Lately I’ve been shooting in South Lake Union because of all the expensive construction and nice building details. I do wish that they used more imagination in their overall designs, but so be it. So outside is my main studio.

6. What is a typical day in the studio like for you? Do you listen to music, radio or tv in your studio?

I labor without nerd finesse at my photo printer and computer. I am convinced that they make the process more difficult then need be. I personally know a code writer at a start up that did not participate in a revolt against the boss that the other nerds launched by further obfuscating the work so he could not micro manage them. It really does not need to be so difficult to print a good image.

7. What is your preferred medium? Do you work on one project at a time or several?

Photography. I am now printing inkjet enlargements of a my long body of fine art work.

8. Do you have any special or unique tools, devices or process that you use in your art making?

Did you know that photo papers are created in a dazzling array? There are dozens of companies that create different papers with unique high quality papers and all they cost is money.

9. What do you do outside the studio, aside from a job?

I like hanging out with my wife and cat in our little house. We listen to music all day. We particularly enjoy John Galbraith in the morning on KBCS. We have also traveled so far to 25 countries. I’ve been going to art galleries for decades. Anybody remember The Don Scott Gallery or when Gordon Woodside was on Capital Hill? Or The Seattle Art Museum Pavillion that I managed in The Seattle Center. Thinking about memory, remember the perpetual drinking bird popular in the late Fifties? A gimmick bird that would dip his beak up and down into a tiny wet cup until the water dried. Everyone marveled: how does that work! That’s us folks.

"White Cup", 2015, archival inkjet print, ed. 1/8, 10.5 x 8”

“White Cup”, 2015, archival inkjet print, ed. 1/8, 10.5 x 8”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s