Artist Statement

 


Since 1983 the common thread of my work has been neon light. I use neon for its versatility: long-lasting industrial strength, vast possibilities of color, and for its willingness to be bent into almost any shape or form. It is the contradictory nature of light - tangible yet intangible, substantial yet insubstantial - that draws the viewer into the artwork. Light is, after all, how we see things.

My approach to public art is to allow the site to inspire. The work must be original yet at the same time reflect and relate to its surroundings. My statements are bold and easily read from afar. They are complex in intellectual content (interdependence, point and counterpoint balancing, and original in their integration with architecture). The multi-colored light with bold strokes would be seen from afar and mark the location with a modern sensibility. My 15 Public art works have become community landmarks, a place where people can gather, and identify with each other as well as their surroundings.

 

My neon sculptures may not be explicit in their proclamation of a specific entity; they always imply announcement and identification of a specific sense or environment. My public pieces have a special way of manipulating the traditional medium to move beyond simple commercial intentions and instead artfully declare one's arrival at an important place. "Lightweb" in Silver Spring, MD and "Vivace" in D.C., for example, announce an important community landmark to a diverse range of viewers.

 

Recently, I have traveled to 3 continents and visited 26 ancient cave sites in Southern Europe, Indonesia and Africa to view, first hand, the first drawings, paintings, and etchings made by early homo sapiens from up to 40,000 BC. From this experience, it had become clear that these marks are not only about connections between groups about also about connections to a higher power or spiritual world. My artwork synthesizes these ancient marks with the ephemeral nature of light itself.

Craig Kraft