David Crawford Sculpture
Photo by Anna Richardson
"The Curious Order of Things"; 2014.
Photo by Kendrick Moholt
David Crawford was born in 1955, in Walla Walla, Washington. He spent his childhood in the rural Southeast Oregon community of Adel, and went to high school in Lakeview. He worked on the historic MC Ranch during the summers, from grade school through high school, graduating in 1974. He earned his BS from Eastern Oregon University in 1979, with a major in art. He married Victoria (Tori) Thew, in the fall of that same year. While on their honeymoon the couple put down money on an old house in Portland, Oregon, where in a small damp basement shop, amongst the salamanders and mumified cats, David began his career in art. In 1982 they moved to Enterprise, Oregon where both their sons were born.
His early work was in furniture, and his first castings were in the service of that work. His first castings that were unrelated to furniture were created in 1985, at which point he left the functional arts behind. In 1993, he and his family moved to Halfway, Oregon, where he currently maintains a studio and foundry. His work has appeared in shows around the country, primarily focusing on SOFA (Sculpture, Objects, Functional Art) exhibits in Chicago, West Palm beach, New York, and Santa Fe. He has shown with galleries in Oregon, California, Colorado, Utah and Idaho.
“As an artist, I’ve been inspired by people and objects both in and outside of the “fine arts” disciplines, but I probably owe as much to my rural upbringing and surroundings as to any other influences for the images I produce. Growing up living and working on cattle ranches, the notion that one might instead make art for a living was not really the kind of thing that should be taken too seriously.
Initially I tried to focus my creative energy on functional objects, such that my pursuits be considered useful. I spent several years making furniture, chairs primarily, and participated in a number of nationally recognized fine furniture exhibits in Mendocino, CA, and also in San Francisco, but time would lead me to leave off with functional works and make things that had no purpose whatsoever.
"My works are as much about texture as they are about form. Aging, wear, and decay are the textures of a rural life. The often whimsical application of various materials employed to maintain old derelict structures and equipment speak of lives lived, of hardship, and of determination. The remoteness of Oregon’s high desert country leads to a frugality and a character that can seem almost to be from another time.
"One recurrent theme in my work has been that of hierarchy, whether it be in reference to man’s relationship with animals, or societal relationships within our own species. I see my work as sort of documenting the slow evolution from when “by any means necessary” was the common order, to what may be a more sympathetic or thoughtful future. Issues of environment, class, and treatment of animals are all part of the social order that frames the topic of the day for an artist.
"While many of my early pieces were not so subtle forays into this great debate, I’ve come to see my job more as a contributor to a dialogue. As the jester can speak truth to power, I see the comedy in my work as a bit of sugar to help sweeten what might otherwise be a bitter pill.
"I don’t make art for artists, and I don’t try to confuse anyone. Despite all the complexities of modern life, our emotions are as simple as ever. We laugh, we cry, we hope, we despair. We delight in things we’ve not seen before. These are the things I make art about.”