June 2017 Spotlight on Craig Kosak
2016's The Secret Life of Ravens
Born in 1957 and raised near Seattle, Craig's dedication to making art has been life long. Early recognition and support for his work led to studies at the Art Center College of Design and a thirty year career as a graphic designer. In 1995 he became the first web designer at Microsoft and helped build the foundation of the Internet we use today. In 2004 he quit his day job to pursue the dream of painting seriously. During his transition to full-time painting Craig served for three years on the board of directors at Seattle's Gage Academy of Art, and president for the final year. He helped rebrand the school and move the registration process online. And he took a few classes too. The transition to independent work happened quickly; Craig soon rented a hole-in-the-wall studio in a bad part of town and got to work. Inspired by road trips to the National Parks of the western US Craig's work began to get noticed. By 2008 he was represented by numerous galleries and his paintings were published in national art magazines, including the cover of Southwest Art. Three years later Craig began a new adventure by purchasing five acres of rural forest on Whidbey Island where he built a modest home and standalone studio. He started working there full time in 2012 and the focus of his work began to turn inward. Inspired by the sea, the forest, the wildlife and the people he holds close Craig's love of calligraphic mark-making led to a new body of mostly abstract paintings made using giant horsehair brushes. The new paintings made their debut in 2016.
The first chapter of my career found me living in the city and travelling the American west seeking answers in the National Parks. While I had not intended to make "western" paintings the influence of the landscape and wildlife was undeniable. Now, my travels around the west are done. My life, and my work are about the land and the creatures with whom I live. And the goal for my work has changed. Rather than make paintings that tell a story I'm much more interested in making paintings that share a feeling. My work explores the inner world where things are felt more than seen. I am making representational paintings about emotional experiences.