In the Studio: Craola

IMG_9450 Over the last couple of months we've traced surrealist painter Greg 'Craola' Simkins' artistic journey as he creates in preparation for his now yearly show at well-known Los Angeles gallery, Merry Karnowsky Gallery.

Back in February we stopped by Craola's studio, where he was in the midst of two large scale paintings - filled with his signature whimsical and incredibly realistic worlds - and a smaller, but just as detailed canvas. All three would inevitably end up on the crisp white walls of Mary Karnowski Gallery in a few months for his show, Beyond Shadows – Drip Scripts; the same walls that have hosted artists like Shepard Fairey, Jim Houser and Mel Kadel. While Craola was quick to mention that he hates talking about deadlines, especially the ones for his impending show, there was a recognizable ease whenever he spoke about each of the pieces in his new collection. They're a culmination of extraordinary characters - photorealistic blue jays, exotic flora and fauna hybrids like Yellow, a heavily tattooed lemon-octopus, or Stab E. Mack, Craola's switchblade character - and highly figurative realms conceived from his imagination.

We got to talking with Craola about everything from early influences and the process and challenges of putting together such a large yearly show to the underlying common threads that run through every piece of his new series. Following the opening of Beyond Shadows – Drip Scripts which will happen this Saturday, May 21st at Merry Karnowsky Gallery, we'll be dropping an exclusive behind the scenes video that traces Craola's working process in the months leading up to his show. It will be a dynamic look into the artistic process behind a show.

Check out photos from our time spent in the studio with Craola below.