Artist Profile: Preston Craig

A novel idea took Preston Craig deep into a series of paintings that address the human condition, and work to benefit society.

 

"Bodybuilder Teddy" Acrylic, 28" x 22" by Preston Craig. See his artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

“Bodybuilder Teddy” Acrylic, 28″ x 22″

 

ABI:  What is your background, and how did you become inspired to create the “Twisted Teddys” series?

PC:  Originally from Louisiana, as a young child I received encouragement from my mother, and an aunt, who was a professional artist. While attending a local university for my B.A. in Graphic Design/ Illustration, I began exhibiting my paintings (mostly landscapes) in my hometown and other areas of the South.

 

"Homeless Teddy" Mixed Media, 28" x 22"

“Homeless Teddy” Mixed Media, 28″ x 22″

 

Also, I was an avid reader of comic books and science fiction and began attending science fiction conventions, where I began to exhibit some of my fantasy art. My artwork (both landscape and fantasy) began to sell and win awards. Fast forward, I moved to California, became involved in creating digital art and murals and worked overseas in Norway, Denmark, England, Italy and Japan.

 

"Tagger Teddy" Acrylic, 28" x 22" by Preston Craig. See his artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

“Tagger Teddy” Acrylic, 28″ x 22″

 

After getting injured in a mural accident in the U.S., I decided to return to school for my MFA. State colleges didn’t offer a program in what I wanted to pursue so I applied, and was accepted, at both CalArts and the Academy of Art. I liked the program better at the Academy (though I later found out the school had been sued for misrepresentation and other infractions) and earned an MFA (with honors) in Illustration/Painting in 2012.

 

"Redneck Teddy" Mixed Media, 28" x 22" by Preston Craig. See his artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

“Redneck Teddy” Mixed Media, 28″ x 22″

 

An award winning published artist, writer and art educator, I work as a freelance illustrator, digital artist, fine artist, graphic designer and voice over actor in the Los Angeles area. My volunteer work in the arts community and contribution to the growth of the arts in L.A. has been recognized by the L.A. City Council.

 

"DracuTeddy" Mixed Media, 28" x 22" by Preston Craig. See his artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

“DracuTeddy” Mixed Media, 28″ x 22″

 

I got involved with social issues as a child because of my mom’s charity work. Long story short, a friend, who was a really bad amateur painter, threw away a painting in a dumpster. I asked her for it because I liked the idea. I painted out the image, which was a panda bear teddy stuck in the corner of a room and repainted it in my style; adding a drop of blood coming down from the teddy’s mouth.

 

"Dominatrix Teddy" Acrylic, 28" x 22" by Preston Craig. See his artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

“Dominatrix Teddy” Acrylic, 28″ x 22″

 

When I first exhibited the piece, I noted the reactions of people who viewed the image. They were alternately attracted and repulsed by the image. It got me to thinking that I could utilize teddy bears, which are an iconic symbol of childhood innocence, to address social issues that are important to me and society-at-large. The teddy bear would draw people in to look at the image and get them to ponder the deeper meaning behind the image; perhaps inspiring them to help create positive social change. Twisted Teddys™ was my MFA thesis.

 

"Gangsta Teddy" Mixed Media, 28" x 22" by Preston Craig. See his artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

“Gangsta Teddy” Mixed Media, 28″ x 22″

 

ABI:  How have you monetized the artwork in this series?

PC:  I market signed, limited edition prints, posters, greeting cards and t-shirts. A portion of proceeds from sales, benefits organizations that address the issues my teddy bears depict.

ABI:  What ideas do you have for taking this concept in new directions?

PC:  At present, I’m working on getting 3-D printed figures of a few of my teddy characters. I can make molds of them and use injection molding to make multiple copies, which will be hand painted.

 

"Alas Fair Teddy" Acrylic, 20" x 16" by Preston Craig. See his artist profile at www.ArtsBusinessInstitute.org

“Alas Fair Teddy” Acrylic, 20″ x 16″

 

Also, I’m looking for someone who is really good at sewing plush so that I can create plush prototypes. In addition, I’m in the process of writing a novel titled “Teddy Town©”, which utilizes most of my teddy characters and some new ones in a drug, murder mystery story, and lastly, I’ve been approached multiple times about turning my teddys into a graphic novel and/or an animated series.

 

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