Craig Kraft - Neon Artist 

Over the past 35 years Craig Kraft has gained national recognition in creating original works of art that advance the techniques he has developed while working with drawn neon lines and sculptural light volumes surrounding the figure, holographic style lit negative body casts sited on buildings around the world, to monumental outdoor rolled aluminum and neon sculptures. Kraft achieved his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. For the past 25 years he has been a faculty member of the Smithsonian Institution Studio Arts Program. His sculptures have been featured in over 120 exhibits throughout the U.S.A. (17+ solo) and he has been a leader of the International Sculpture Conference twice. Recently, Kraft has been commissioned to create monumental rolled aluminum light sculptures for both Montgomery County Maryland and P.F.A. for the Downtown Silver Spring Development as well as for Anacostia Arts Center and The Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, Virginia. He was invited to exhibit at both The Busan Biennale Art Festival 2004 and Hermandades Escultoricas 2005 in Merida Yucatan Mexico. Kraft Resides at 1239 Good Hope Rd SE, Washington, D.C. U.S.A. His work can be seen at his home gallery and studio, a historic building in Anacostia. His pieces are for sale and he is available for commissioned artwork.

Since 1983, the common thread in my work has been neon light. I have used neon for its versatility: long-lasting industrial strength, vast possibilities of color, and its willingness to be bent into almost any shape or form. It is the contradictory nature of light: tangible but intangible, substantial but insubstantial that draws the viewer into the artwork. It is, after all, how we see things. Light is in constant flux; it begs questions about perception and importance.

 

My artworks are generated from rolled and painted aluminum tubing and neon. The dimensions of the tubing vary from 1 ¾ “ x 3 “ up to 6 “ x 3 “ for monumental scale sculpture. The neon tubing is shaped three dimensionally, highlighting the aluminum structure from all sides. These techniques have allowed me to bring the colored lines and reflected volumes of light into wide-open spaces. When the clean lines of neon interact with a new or existing architectural structure, volumes of light are created three dimensionally, resulting in a site inspired, integrated light sculpture

 

Light sculptures have both a sense of newness and energy and they are about the future as much as the present. There is also an element of marking, which the crossing of colored lines against one another generates. The effect of the sculpture is to mark importance, not just of location but also significance. The sculptural mark of light resonates in the collective memory

Selected Solo Exhibitions

 

2018 Cafritz Foundation Art Center, Silver Spring, MD

2018 Susan Calloway Fine Arts, Washington, DC

2015 Markings, Graffiti from the Ground Zero Blues Club, DC Arts Center, DC

2014 Markings, Graffiti from the Ground Zero Blues Club, VisArts Center, Rockville, MD

2010 Reston Arts Center, Reston, VA

2010 Lightworks by Craig Kraft: 2006-2010, Osuna Art, Bethesda, MD

2010 Sculpture 1275: Craig Kraft, 1275 Pennsylvania Ave. (Lobby), Washington, DC

2010 Unintentional Drawings, Reston Arts Center, Reston, VA

2008 Falling Man, The Cell Theatre, New York, NY

2004 Spectral Figures in Light, Gallery Neptune, Bethesda, MD

2003 Retrospective, 901 E St., Washington, DC

2000 Cross Currents East and West, Maryland Center for the Arts, Baltimore, MD

2000 Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC

1999 The Proposed Washington Opera House, Washington, DC

1998 Washington Arts Club, Washington, DC

1997 Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI

1996 St. Petersburg Center for the Arts, St. Petersburg, FL

1992-1995 Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC

1992 Reston Arts Center, Reston, VA

Selected Group Exhibitions

 

2018 SCOPE, New York, NY

2018 Art Market, San Francisco, CA

2013 Artsites, Howard County Arts Council, Elicott City, MD

2013 Emulsion, East City Art Center, Washington, DC

2013 The 25 Project, District of Columbia Arts Center, Washington, DC

2013 40 for 40: Celebrating Four Decades of Grace, Reston Arts Center, Reston, VA

2012 Heurich Gallery, Two person show, Washington, DC

2011 (e)merge Art Fair, Capitol Skyline Hotel, Washington, DC

2011 Planning Process: Drawings and Finished Works, Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA

2010 Abstraction: More Than Meets the Eye, Strathmore Fine Art, Bethesda, MD

2010 Foggy Bottom Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit, Foggy Bottom District, Washington, DC

2010 Art Santa Fe, Santa Fe Convention Center, Santa Fe, NM

2007 Architecture/Sculpture, Washington Sculptors Group, juried by John Beardsley, The American University Museum at the Katzen Art Center, Washington, DC

2007 Sculpture Now, Washington Sculptors Group, juried by Ramon Osuna, Washington, DC

2005 Modern Masters, Elizabeth Doyle Gallery, Maui, HI

2005 Hermandades Escultoricas, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Mérida, Mexico

2005 State of the Art—A Mid-Atlantic Regional Overview, Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA

2004 Busan Biennale Chasm: Crossing Over, Busan, Korea

1998 Traveling Light, Seto, Japan; Museum of Neon Art, Los Angeles, CA; Hsin-Chu, Taiwan

1995 Pop-Ups, Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island, NY

1994-1995 Light as a Helping Hand, University of Baltimore, Baltimore, MD; Firehouse Art, Washington, DC

Public Art Installations and Commissions

 

2013 Random Neons for Anacostia, Site specific installation selected for Lumen8anacostia, Anacostia, DC

2010 Unintentional Drawings #4 and #5, Enlarged drawing on vinyl and neon. Commissioned by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for the project Arts on N. Washington, DC

2009 Vivace, rolled aluminum and neon. Commissioned by the DC Public Library for the new Watha T. Daniel, Washington, DC.

2009 Anacoti, rolled aluminum and neon. Funded by Public Art Building Communities Grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Installed on façade of Honfleur Gallery, Washington, DC

2009 Unraveled, rolled aluminum and neon. Commissioned by Howard Hughes Medical Institute for their Janelia Farm Research Center, Ashburn, VA

2009 Connective Ascension, rolled aluminum and neon. Commissioned by Embassy Suites Hotel, Loveland, CO

2008 Falling Man, Forton MG, neon and steel. Installed on the front of The Cell Theater, New York, NY

2007 Crossroads, rolled aluminum and neon. Commissioned by the City of Rockville, MD for the

new Town Square. Installed on façade of parking structure in Rockville Town Square, Rockville, MD

2007 Fire and Water, rolled aluminum and neon. Commissioned by Embassy Suites Hotel, Concord, NC

2005 Rhythm of the Light, rolled aluminum and neon. Temporary installation in Washington Square Building, Washington, DC

2005 Untitled, rolled aluminum and neon. Selected by Stephen Phillips (The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC) for Arlington Art Center, Arlington, VA

2004 Lightweb, rolled aluminum and neon. Commissioned by Montgomery County and PFA Maryland for Downtown Silver Spring, Silver Spring, MD

2003 Xish, rolled aluminum and neon. 14th and Rhode Island Avenues, Washington, DC

Private Commissions

 

2016 Lightsmark, rolled aluminum and neon. Private commission for Harvey and Andrea Maisel, Bethesda, MD.

2013 Lightswept, rolled aluminum and neon. Private commission for Trudy and Edward Lefrak, Mclean, VA

2012 Site Specific: Drawing in the Dark, Neon. Private commission for Marc Wallen, Washington DC

2011 Impulse Drawing #1, Neon and graphite. Private commission for Belser and Greenfeild, Bethany, MD

2007 Light Winds with Echo, rolled aluminum and neon. Private commission for Carol Browner and Tom Downey, Washington, DC

2006 Untitled, rolled aluminum and neon. Private commission for Bob and Susan Meehan, Washington, DC

2006 Untitled, rolled aluminum and neon. Private commission by David Weiner, Washington, DC

2006 Helicoid, rolled aluminum and neon. Private commission for Jim and Mary Foster, Baltimore, MD

2005 Arcrecture, rolled aluminum and neon. Private Residence, Washington, DC

2005 Spun Light, rolled aluminum and neon. Private commission for Dick and Jane Stoker, Potomac, MD

2005 Rhythm of the Light, rolled aluminum and neon. Private commission by Paul and Holly Fine, Easton, MD

2005 Passions Envelope, bonded copper and neon. Private Residence, Washington, DC

2005 Untitled, rolled aluminum and neon. Private commission for Paul and Holly Fine, Easton, MD

2004 Untitled, copper, bonded copper, and neon. Commissioned by D.B. Interiors, Baltimore, MD

2004 Reactive Illuminations, bonded copper and neon. Commissioned by International Corporate Art, London, England

2002 Triangulation, bonded copper and neon. Private outdoor commission. Washington, DC

1999 Untitled, copper and neon. Private Commission. (three copper figures fragments)

Grants & Awards

 

2015 Visual Arts Fellowship Grant, Awarded by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts

2009 Public Art Building Communities Grant, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities

2007 Sculpture Now, Sculpture award from Juror: Ramon Osuna

1994, 99 Visual Arts Grant Awarded by the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts

1998 Masterworks, at Convergence Art Festival, Providence, RI

1997 Projects Grant for Visual Artists Grant, Awarded by the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities

1995 Western Carolina University Sculpture Award, Cullowhee, North Carolina

 

Work Experience

 

1992-present Neon Light Sculpture Instructor, Smithsonian Residence Studio Arts, Washington DC

Craig Kraft