Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Charles Krafft


Charles Krafft from Patricia O'Brien on Vimeo.

This video popped up over at the "street art" site Supertouch. Charles Krafft is an artist I got to know when I lived in Seattle through our mutual friend Larry Reid. Back then, he had just started doing his "Disasterware" pieces--charmingly created Delftware-style plates and teacups with scenes of horrible events on them--aerial bombardments, massive fires, maritime disasters, etc. Krafft had been a painter for a long time when he started creating these bizarre curios, but his work gained a new audience. The irony and humor was appealing to lots of folks who maybe wouldn't otherwise connect with contemprary art, and the fact that the pieces themselves were fairly inexpensive encouraged young hipsters to start collecting. (I was one of those young hipsters.)

But Krafft had really was serious about ceramics and delftware, and kept pushing it further--in his own idiosyncratic way, of course. So he expanded into pieces like the one below.

http://www.supertouchart.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/uzilarge.jpg

The film is quite good. Krafft doesn't pretend that he is just making his art and that how it is interpreted is none of his business. He knows he is pushing buttons and takes responsibility for it. He is an amusing, articulate person, and an excellent spokesman for his own artistic practice. And his owlish, bow-tied professorial look is the perfect icing on the cake--he looks like the kind of guy who would be lecturing on Delftware at the local garden club!

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