Thursday, July 24, 2008

Portraits of St. Louis Artists: Craig Downs

The place was hard to find. I had the address on Broadway, a big street, from the list of open artists' studios last weekend but there didn't seem to be any such number. There was a small lane behind a ramp onto the Interstate from Broadway so I followed it. Around a bend I saw a dreary brick building with the Open House sign. There was a series of three old commercial buildings built into a slope down to the Mississippi, now all occupied by artists.

In the middle one I met Craig Downs, pictured here. Downs is a painter and a singer with a band called Box of Nerves.
Listen to some of their tunes here. His painting style may seem simple at first but click the image below and look carefully. The one on the right is particularly complex. Note the woman holding a tree whose wild red hair ends with snakes, like Medusa, placing her right hand on the head of a woman with a halo but no face, while an angel floats across the upper right carrying an Eastern Orthodox cross. Care to offer an interpretation?

WHAT I HAD TO DO: Listen to The Ride of the Valkeries from Richard Wagner's Die Walk├╝re on my iPod, loud, along with other music of similar temperature and pressure, to stick it out on the treadmill. I think exercise is a boring, unpleasant chore but, damn, you have to.
TOMORROW: St. Louis artists portraits continue with Sarah Paulsen, painter


Virginia said...

The way the shadows are behind him gives a 3D look. Did you mean to do that or was it photographer's luck? I tried a little of your Wagner this morning and my 3 year old granddaughter said it was too scary!HA
Oh, and my interpretation of Craig's cool artwork? No clue.

Knoxville Girl said...

He looks totally bemused by the idea of having his portrait made, so different from the cheerful man yesterday - which says to me that your portraits are highlighting each unique personality. His work certinly has a box-of-nerves qualityto it.

Tash said...

Excellent portraits. Been enjoying the artists series. Interesting that a lot of painters are in bands too.

Ming the Merciless said...

I like the piece behind him in the photo. I like the colors and the simplicity of the subject.

Hilda said...

His style reminds me of some children's book illustrations, but the subjects are definitely for adults only. I like his style and the bold colors he uses.