About Shaina Craft
I am a figurative artist living and working in Philadelphia. I graduated from the New York Academy of Art in 2015 with an MFA in painting and Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in painting in 2011. My work explores classical techniques and expressive mark-making.
I have exhibited widely across the United States. My painting “Wonder” was recently shown at the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art for their inaugural exhibition. In 2017 my drawings were shown at “Tone of Intention”, a show of works on paper at Lacey and Philips Gallery, curated by InLiquid. My work was also chosen for the MFA National Competition at First Street Gallery in New York City. My artwork has been featured in publications such as Juxtapoz, Hi Fructose, Blisss Magazine and Curve Magazine.
My work explores portraiture and figuration through classical techniques and expressive mark-making. I create oil paintings and charcoal drawings that transform the figure into a strong, yet fragmented subject. The artworks have grown from the history of the grotesque female body. She is unretouched, raw, comfortable in her own imperfect skin. I believe the terms beautiful and ugly can be interchangeable. Or rather, that subjects historically associated with the abject or the grotesque can be represented in a way that both defies their traditional roles and makes them powerfully beautiful.
When drawing, I use large brushes to move powdered charcoal across the paper surface in a painterly fashion. I use a variety of unusual tools as well as water and acetone to disrupt uniformity. My drawings possess a certain spontaneity because I embrace the unexpected. The result is a series of images that exhibits both graphic contrast and whimsical detailed form. My intention is to blur the borders between the sublime and the grotesque, the emotive and the confrontational. I strive to make paintings that challenge the tropes of the figurative canon and convey the complexity of life’s experiences.