Regardless of what you know him as, Greg Craola Simkins has made an indelible mark on various sectors of the modern art world. In remaining unfettered by the constraints imposed by clan-like divisions in the art world, Greg has solidified his post as one of the most gifted surrealist painters around. As part of a scene who’s contributors are increasingly replete, his work stands out as a hallmark of uncompromised vision, as dark and abstruse images reveal Simkins’ exceptional skill.
Whether his earlier days as a graffiti artist or his latest canvas pieces, Craola is constantly pushing the limits of of his own imagination, steadily concocting worlds whose inhabitants multiply specters in the shadows. Pre-depression era antiques, jellyfish, and a myriad of synthesized critters find their home in his otherworldly scenes – constantly reminding us of surrealities our coloring books never knew were possible. Greg is a favorite of IPMM, and we’re honored to be able to present this glimpse into his process, creative evolution, and state of mind.
EL: Before we get into, it, we loved the last print release “The Nature of Nurture… we featured it on IPMM as well… (fantastic title too)…
GS: Thanks Evan, that piece is one of my favorites and I keep finding myself sneaking the strawctopus into many other paintings now. I think he’s in 5 at this point, but “The Nature of Nurture” is the first. I was surprised on how fast it sold out. I believe it was 8 hours if I heard right. I was very happy to see it so well recieved.
EL: I’ve got a story about the hoodie you released via Upper Playground… I bought the thing before I started writing for The Citrus Report, took it to a festival, and some dirty f-ippie (fake-hippie) stole it from me… I quickly had it replaced… Any other ventures into clothing in the future?
GS: Haha that sucks! Should’ve had a bike lock on it… Yes we put out some clothing stuff from time to time. I currently have my online store www.shop.imscared.com that carries some of the IMSCARED line, and I believe there are still a couple Upper Playground things available, as well as Me and Alex Pardee’s collab “Scared Friends” stuff.
EL: You’re known for combining creatures who’s construction might lead to some identity issues. Do you always have these weird beings figured out ahead of time, or do they ever mutate during the process of painting them?
GS: Yes and Yes. I keep working sketchbooks going all the time full of any ideas or notes that pop into my head. A lot of times I’ll sit and watch nature programs and get some wild ideas. I re-sketch these ideas until they’re in a presentable form with good composition. Once it’s on the canvas, I allow myself to freestyle a bit as I paint. The freedom to do this keeps the painting alive to me.
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