Monday, October 14, 2013

Conquering Obstacles: Momentum Tulsa Artist Craig Swan

Craig Swan, Norman

Laura Reese: What is your concept and inspiration for this piece in Momentum?
Craig Swan: The ideas behind A Man, A Memory and the Blank Page, really did not become clear until after I had made it.

Each element in this piece contributes to the larger metaphor and creates meaning beyond its literal description. I intend the right outstretched arm as a symbol of masculinity, strength and struggle. It is a recurring image in my sketchbooks, and also represents self-evaluation. It represents struggling with the expectations of masculine archetypal thinking and actions - and my success or failure to meet them.

In the context of the painting it is about doing something with good intentions, regardless of imminent failure. It is about masculinity, which is simultaneously serious and ridiculous. It is about wanting to be something more than you are, about conquering the thing that holds you back, about powering through obstacles.

Craig Swan, A Man, A Memory and the Blank Page, Acrylic Paint on Panel, $550

 Is this work part of a series?
I think one has no choice but to work in series, because I can’t get everything I want to say or feel into one piece, and trying to do that just stops everything completely. Even when you figure out a way to do it, when you make a thing you like, when you feel like it speaks with concision, you start looking for a different way to do it. So, yeah, this is part of a series, but not in a sequential or planned way. It’s more of a part of the continent of my personality that I just recently discovered and is taking me to an interesting part that I don’t know yet, a kind of meandering series.

Where else can the audience see your work?
I have some other work posted on my Tumblr. I teach drawing and sculpture at the Fire House Art Center in Norman, and I recently put out a second edition of my first book of poems, Three Girls available for sale here. The cover is a painting of mine. You can also see my sculpture Sundial on the north corner of the intersection of Webster/Main St. in Norman, OK. 

Momentum Tulsa opens October 12 with live music, performance and visual art by 51 young Oklahomans. The exhibition remains on display until October 24 at Living Arts of Tulsa, 307 E Brady. Spotlight Artists will speak to the public on October 24th at 6:30pm at Living Arts. Learn more at

No comments: