Aaron Craig is an Australian graphic designer from Newcastle with a background in fine art and photography. Located on Queensland's Sunshine Coast he has an affinity for combining his three loves of design, photography and fineart in his heavily detailed and layered collage art, drenched in vibrant colour, 80s popular culture and curvy sultry women.
Tell us about the artwork for your new print release (left).
The artwork is titled ‘Bird of Prey’, and is about mature women being ruthless in their sexuality. Sort of a pop-culture spin on the idea of the ‘cougar’. When I’m in the process of working on a digital collage I often start by trawling through imagery of 1950s nude women, or vintage pornography, mainly because I prefer using busty/curvy women in the works and it’s difficult to find that in images from the last 20-30 years.
I like to think it has a tough yet tender aesthetic, eyes closed but totally aware. I used the Sorceress character from 1980s cartoon Masters Of The Universe because I'm a child of the 80s and am currently moderately re-obsessed with it. The typography just sums up her frame of mind.
What is your art making process?
The majority of my work is digital collage. I have folders full of imagery I have scanned in or collected online over the years. All the backgrounds of my work are actually processed blank film negatives I collected when I ran a print lab in Brisbane a while ago. I generally start with the background and then look for the main image from my collection or elsewhere. From there its just a whole lot of trial and error until the piece feels right. This particular piece is made from film negatives, black paint, spray paint, online imagery, typography and then the shawl and her head are drawn in Illustrator.
How important are pop culture references in your work, and where do you find inspiration?
They’re really only important to me on a personal level I think. I’m completely selfish when it comes to art making and really only work on something to please my own interests. I have revisited a lot of the cartoons I grew up with lately, such as MOTU, TMNT, Roger Ramjet, Ren and Stimpy etc and I think that they are far better then modern day cartoons so it’s nice to remind us 30-somethings of all the awesome stuff we grew up on.
What is your studio environment like?
Messy. It’s essentially print drawers, my work desk which is covered in books, magazines, and an ever growing toy collection, plus artwork all over the walls. I love it because everywhere I look there is something rad that I love.
What about your art collection?
Growing. I’m addicted to buying art I think. I have to stop myself buying prints or customs on a daily basis. I don’t own a lot of big expensive original pieces but I have a pretty extensive collection of smaller pieces. I just got a couple of Erik Jones APs that sold out a while back that I am currently in love with and can’t wait to frame.
Do you collect any other things?
I started collecting Masters of The Universe action figures about 4 months ago. Only the original classics from 1981-87 though because they’re the ones I played with as a kid. I remember I had a friend who Im sure had every single one growing up, and I was totally jealous of him, so now that I can afford to buy my own I am collecting the entire original set. I’ve got about 60 so far. I have also started collecting Japanese vinyl toys that are ugly. Ones that baffle me in their design.
What projects do you have coming up soon?
I want to incorporate more art based events at my espresso bar, Sunshine Sunshine, here on the coast. Also hopefully curating a group show later this year possibly in Newcastle, and aiming for another exhibition of some variety overseas towards the end of the year or early next year.
Follow Aaron on Instagram.