Craig Davison is in his Golden Years with Bad to the Bone

Craig Davison is in his Golden Years with Bad to the Bone

The artist is at his peak, doing what he does best and loves most – painting portraits of children at play, inspired by his own ‘60s childhood in Sheffield, a time before video games and social media gained their stranglehold on youth.

Golden Years comprises eight new images which capture the innocence and lightheartedness of that time before the responsibilities of adulthood kick in, portraying children and teenagers paying tribute to their many diverse heroes, whether they be David Bowie, Princess Leia, the kids from Grease or Mary Poppins.

Craig says: “I would describe the work that I do as lots of influences all mashed together, and one major part of that is nostalgia – I want people to connect emotionally and remember their own childhoods. I like to think my work’s got an honesty, there’s no pretension to it – it is what it is.

“Art is anything that you can see emotion in. I have to feel an emotional connection to art – that’s the key, whether it’s a sculpture, an installation or whatever.”

And despite living in a beautiful part of the UK, in remote countryside in County Durham, Craig says he’s not tempted to paint landscapes.

“Children play such a big part in my paintings,” he says. “The first one I did was inspired by my own childhood memories of me pretending I was a native American. At primary school, I was convinced I was a Cherokee. Turns out I’m not!

“I did a painting of a child with a feather in his hair, and people really took to it. And I wanted to distil that idea and get a sense of that child’s imagination, and that’s how I ended up with the shadows in the background.”

Craig uses the unusual technique of ‘underpainting’ with acrylics, then finishing with oils. The acrylics allow him to ‘block’ the image quickly, but don’t give the accuracy of colour he demands: “With acrylics, you can mix the paint and it looks great – and then it dries differently. With oils, you mix it and that’s exactly how it’s going to stay.”

Craig Davison painting titled Let the Children Boogie

The eight images in the Golden Years collection are the Star Wars-inspired Bad to the Bone and Princess Laura; In the Pink, an homage to the 50s rockers of Grease; Bowie tribute Let the Children Boogie; Practically Perfect in Every Way, featuring everyone’s favourite nanny, Mary Poppins; Spider-Man in the punning Web Designer and Web Head; and finally, Hell Yeah, featuring Hellboy, the character created by one of Craig’s favourite comic book artists Mike Mignola.

The images are all available as artist-embellished canvas editions or as float-mounted signed, numbered limited edition giclee prints on museum paper with deckle edges.

The Artmarket Gallery is also delighted to be able to offer the original artworks for two of the pieces: Web Designer and Let the Children Boogie.

The final word is Craig’s, and it sums up his art for so many of his avid collectors: “Art – it’s not a case of that’s how I earn my money: it’s what I need to do.” You can hear Craig talking about his work – and meet his lovely dogs! – here.

Craig Davison painting titled Let the Children Boogie

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