Robin Crookall Interview - The Hopper Prize

Robin Crookall

Robin Crookall on growing up with creative parents, the sculptural ability of light, and the modern human struggle to coexist with the natural world.

How did you get into making art?

I’ve been making art ever since I can remember. I’ve been drawing, painting and sculpting from a very young age. My dad was a carpenter and my mother was a fiber artist, so I grew up with highly creative and supportive parents who helped to foster my artistic leanings. My dad built me a doll house as a child and I would make all my own furniture. I even added carpet and wallpaper to decorate the interior. My painting skills led me to be recruited to help paint several murals in my home town when I was teenager. In high school I started taking ceramics classes which boosted my desire to pursue sculpture in college.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a few new series of photographs. One is working with lamps and light to create dynamic shadows and geometric forms. This work will experiment with the sculptural ability of light.

The other project is creating interior spaces that contain animal and plant imagery. This work will delve into the absurdity of bringing some living things into the home, while keeping others out. It will highlight the modern human struggle to coexist with the natural world.

This work will experiment with the sculptural ability of light.

Robin Crookall

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

The work of Jan Tichy very much inspired the work I’m doing with light and lamps. Tichy builds beautiful installations with moving light. The photos I’m building with animals and plants are encouraged by living in New York and observing how the natural world collides with a heavily constructed city. These new images are also inspired by Lynn Cohen’s photographic series “Occupied Territory,” where bleak interior spaces are often adorned with binal decorations to make them seem more palatable.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

It really depends on the project and the day. Sometime a distanct project comes to mind and spend a lot of time working on that. I also like to leave time in my studio for play. I’m always making sketches of new ideas and projects. I have way more project ideas then the time to make everything and I usually work on multiple projects at the same time.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

It can take between one to three months to create a diorama to be constructed. A typical day in the studio is spent meticulously crafting one part of model, for example cutting out and installing “floor boards”, or crafting window blind. It’s a time consuming and tedious process. When a diorama is complete, I will spend a day setting up lighting and the angle of my camera for the final photo shoot.


Who are your favorite artists?

Tim Roda, Alex Yuzdon, Lynne Cohen, Marco Tirelli, Gordon Matta-Clark, Kate Stone, Jan Tichy, Thomas Dennis, Robert Adams, Robert Cummings, Julio Torres, Lewis Baltz, and Luigi Ghirri.

Where do you go to discover new artists?

I go to a lot of gallery openings in NY and Brooklyn. I also get a lot of leads from fellow artists and friends during studio visits and conversations.

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