Greg Simkins acknowledges his overactive childhood mind for helping him develop his style of creating and depicting vivid, otherworldly experiences. Simkins began drawing at the age of three and was inspired by various Disney cartoons and books including Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth. At the age of eighteen, Simkins began to create large graffiti works under the name “Craola”.
After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art in 1999, Simkins worked with various clothing companies and video game developers while still developing his personal artistic career. It was not until 2005 that Simkins was able to focus full time on painting.
Simkins describes his painting as showcasing “The Outside”, a place where our imagination takes over and we leave ourselves to briefly inhabit a new escape. His distinctive blend of character-based surrealism comes together after a detailed process including sketching, seeking out visual references, and taking notes. His long and involved creation process helps each piece become a fully realized vision.
The work of Greg Simkins can be seen all over the country in various art galleries and on the streets as well as in video games, clothing, toys, skateboards, and more. Simkins also spends time creating works for a long list of charities, recently including the American Cancer Society and Power House Project of Detroit. On his website, Greg Simkins credits his success to “his careful weaving of pop culture, the old masters, nature, carnival kitsch, and (most importantly) his warped imagination.”
Los Angeles based artist Greg “Craola” Simkins pulls ideas from his childhood- his favorite cartoons, old comics, and vintage packaging- and ties it all together to create art that gives a feeling of being a kid again.
In his new work “Beyond Shadows”, his creations include exotic flora and fauna hybrids, photo-realistic killer whales and blue jays, a tattooed lemon-octopus and more recognizable characters from Pop-culture.
The closing reception for Greg ‘CRAOLA‘ Simkins’ solo exhibition “Where Am I” at MKGallery (Los Angeles), will include a special print release of the artist’s “ALWAIS WATCHING” painting. CRAOLA will be hand drawing a ‘Remarque’ sketch on each “ALWAIS WATCHING” giclee print purchased on Saturday, June 20th from 3 – 5 pm.
Throughout history and in fables and pop culture, every underdog has possessed a vital asset that led to success: passion. The same can be said about art and apparel brand Zerofriends. Originally a small group of imaginative artists who shared a desire to create obscure, unique, and borderline demented artwork, Zerofriends has grown into a collective whose work has gained worldwide recognition. This is due in part to the artists’ uncompromising approach to their work and the DIY operation of the business that has sprouted from the passion of the artists involved. This book showcases the artists and illustrators who have played a major role in establishing the Zerofriends brand as one of the most unique and inspiring collections in the industry. Featured artists include Alex Pardee, Tara McPherson, Greg “Craola” Simkins, Skinner, Dave Correia, Robert Bowen, Jon Wayshak, Jason Edmiston, and others.
172 Pages, Hardcover, 8 1⁄2” x 11”, 250 Illustrations