San Francisco artist John Kraft explains how artwork is like sipping, for the first time, a pure and focused cabernet. Get to know why people leave their hearts in San Francisco through the eyes of this special artist.
Hometown: Los Angeles
Current Residence: San Francisco Bay Area
Areas of Focus: Art, Digital Assemblage & Illustration
What is a typical day like for you?
Like many of us, my day begins with “checking in” with the world around me via social media and other online channels. I’ve been fortunate to have built up a respectable base of collectors and connections via social media, and I believe staying engaged and involved is a big part of why I’ve been successful. After the morning cup or three of coffee and my shot of Facebook and Twitter, I typically spend time working on new compositions and/or preparing for upcoming shows.
San Francisco is prevalent in your paintings, what about the city that inspires you?
While it’s been said many times, I believe San Francisco is a magical place; for its landmarks and perhaps even more so for its people. There is a feeling that anything is possible and that one is living in one of the most welcoming and beautiful cities on earth.
I’ve traveled extensively throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia and I always come back to that feeling that San Francisco is a very unique and special place. My goal is to capture and communicate that magic in my work.
How would you describe the SF art scene compared to NYC, London or any other major art hub?
There are of course more similarities than differences. Galleries in all markets are reacting and adjusting to the economic downturn and the existence of more and more online avenues for art consumption and purchase. Artists all over the world are also trying to navigate these tough economic times and many are exploring the opportunity of connecting with collectors via the internet while maintaining relationships and balance with the traditional brick-and-mortar galleries.
I believe galleries and independent artists selling their work online can coexist and complement each other as long as the shared focus is on consistency, professionalism and fairness to and for collectors.
Was there a specific event where you knew you would become an artist?
Absolutely. In the early 90s I was living in the Napa Valley. After the end of a long-term relationship, I was passing by an art store and decided to go inside. I came out with an 18 foot roll of canvas and a bag full of acrylic paints and pastels. I went home, poured a tall glass of Silver Oak, and began to paint. I was hooked. What started as a diversion quickly became a passion. I like to say that my art is inspired by the personal but celebrates the universal.
What is overrated about being an artist?
Perhaps more overstated than overrated, but I take issue with the notion that as artists we should be starving or troubled or conflicted or unhappy. None of these conditions are prerequisites for creating meaningful art.
In contrast, what is underrated?
Again, perhaps more understated than underrated, but it’s important to acknowledge the fact that there are a great number of artists that “get” the fact that one has to do more than just create the work to be successful. The fact of the matter is that caring about promotion and marketing acts as a healthy complement to the creative process.
If someone was blind, how would you describe your work to them?
I’d probably say that viewing my art is like drinking a pure and focused glass of Cabernet or eating a chocolate cake with three scoops of your favorite ice cream. My work is deceptively simple, and it’s these simple compositions that serve as pure metaphor for the emotions the work represents.
What is next for you this year?
My focus will be on creating new work and enjoying time with my amazing wife, Nikki, and our daughters Sienna and Kira.