Bryn Craig was born in 1931 in Lansdale, PA. He studied at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art and with the Art Students League of New York, and taught at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art. At 83, Craig is represented by three galleries, and continues to create.
The artist’s work explores the relationship between people and interiors. Many of his canvases are filled with a subtle moodiness and subdued emptiness. He distorts rooms, elongates perspectives, or skews proportion of items in order to convey the real essence of a place.
Bryn Craig, The Star Quilt, oil on canvas, 2014, Gallery Bergelli
Craig writes, “Although my work is representational, I am definitely not a photo realist. I try to include much more than just the surface of a place. I want to express my emotions about the subject and to stimulate emotions in the viewer.” To me, Craig’s painting above conveys the strangeness one feels when they are staying at a friend’s house on vacation – the uncanny sensation that a room is yours, but also is not home. Those silent moments of being alone in a shared vacation home, perhaps on the Cape, can be calming but also disorienting.
Craig’s process involves photographing one location at various times of day, and from many angles. Although he uses the snaps to direct some of his painting, he is not concerned if a lighting fixture is out of place, or a building changes colors. In this way, his works become a sort of fantasy invention.
Drawing from his travels as well as from his commonplace interiors, Craig’s paintings are imbued with color, feeling and texture.
While everyone else was chasing the main avenues of the five boroughs, or watching from the sidelines as friends ran the 26 miles of the New York City Marathon, I found myself wandering a few blocks away from the action at the intersection of 19th Century residential streets between Boerum Hill, Gowanus, and Fort Greene.
Hidden at the juncture of Nevins and Bergen, just slightly removed from the hustle of 4th avenue, is The Brooklyn Circus. A nostalgic menswear brand with impeccably tailored pieces that speak to a greater story regarding an evolution of the urban image. The smartly cultivated brand transcends the typical stereotypes of a working-class Brooklyn. Varsity Letterman Jackets easily sit alongside dark-washed denim inspired by the Mississippi Delta, rally caps, iconic PF Flyers basketball sneakers, cowboy fringe, Boy Scout badges and even leather moto jackets for a fifties greaser coexist peacefully as relics and folklore of the USA . Almost anything that culls from masculine Americana or the psyche of regional history is smartly woven into the merchandise of the boutique.
This Brigadoon-like shop that seemed to sleepily appear for me, one lazy Sunday at noon, has created its own micro-community. A place for people who care about investing in culture in an utterly unpretentious way. Indeed, the eight-year old brand has a century long vision, something customers also buy-into. The 100-Year Plan is the brand’s self-proclaimed sole mission: to strive to educate their community through style.
I found myself discussing Schlitz beer and thrift shopping with Kash, a Brooklyn native and sales associate; while easily slipping into a conversation regarding monk straps an the shop’s recent partnership with a Saville row cobbler. Other storied partnerships include Etiquette Clothiers socks, a pop-up shop and retail takeover from Art Comes First, bespoke brogues from footwear manufacturer Tricker’s, and even G-shock watches. The circus is not afraid to share its center ring in pursuit of proper dress.
The simple lineup of goods hearkens to a time when men invested in a reusable wardrobe, a closet that withstands trends but remains tailor-made and hints at the quintessence of someone’s style. If anything, The Brooklyn Circus is the institutional memory keeper and the future maker for tailored casual clothing for men.