My artistic work explores the intersections between group narratives and perceptions of heroism, with a specific focus on my personal experience of race, gender, sexuality and religion. When approaching different subjects, I believe that working with deeply historical grounding challenges me serve Art’s dual responsibility to aesthetic and conceptual rigor.

Many of my current projects appropriate images and text from comic books, dime magazines, penny novels, newspapers and auto-biographies. I use these documents as social-historical sources. I believe that comic books in particular provide an extremely fertile ground for investigating contemporary conceptions of heroism. In the American context, the images and stories themselves are important resources, but so are the histories of the artists, publishing houses, media companies and audiences that produced them. By thorough research of these interlocking parts, simple serial tales of caped and hooded heroes and heroines offer important revelations about historical moments (i.e.; social movements, domestic and global politics) and sociological forces (i.e.; education of children, perceptions of minorities).

As a self-taught, multi-media artist, my formal treatment of these topics varies. I work mostly in the mediums of painting, collage, printmaking and sculpture. In using various media I like to manipulate distance, transparency, and readability to invite multiple and illusory readings, highlight simple personal revelations or prod skeptically at deep-seated “universal truths.” Layering. Stacking. Censoring. Subverting. Highlighting. Expanding. Sequencing. Visual vivisection of stories...not unlike that found in the panels and pages of comic books.

Philip Crawford

August 1, 2017