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Take a walk down fantasy lane with artist Craig Muller

Posted on January 9, 2013.

“Folklore, legends, myths and fairy tales have followed childhood through the ages, for every healthy youngster has a wholesome and instinctive love for stories fantastic, marvelous and manifestly unreal. The winged fairies of Grimm and Andersen have brought more happiness to childish hearts than all other human creations.”

Introduction to The Marvelous Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (Chicago, April, 1900).

Craig Muller‘s playful drawings and sculptures takes its audience into an alternate reality and offer them an entertaining and witty look at his world and views. His drawings and fable mechanical creatures seem childlike at first glance but upon deeper inspection, the works tackle underlying societal concerns. “It seems I am on an artists journey with dismal failures, narrowing my focus on art making, whilst broadening my thirst for the observed world,” says Muller. Muller was born in 1969. He studied Fine Art at Tshwane University of Technology and is now known chiefly as an established sculptor working in three-dimensional mechanical works in steel, ink drawings on paper and the occasional acrylic painting on board. He has been occupied mainly with commission work involving decorative installations, exclusive furniture and sculpture for private residences up until 2008. His works are also represented in various private collections.

Craig Muller
Humming bird Sauna
Copper and steel

“Aged 12 I wanted to become a poet, a hermit or both, do not know why,” says Muller, “I was given unbridled freedom by my parents and art came up without any influence from them or any interest in art other than [a] boyhood curiosity about how machines can be animal as well as mechanical.” Muller describes his love for working with his hands combined with the “creative impulse to avoid office life as well as to use my love for how things work.”

Craig Muller
Benevolent bomber
Aquarelle on board

Muller’s interest in ‘mechanical animals’ aims to get a good laugh from the audience. “I have an intuitive philosophy and enjoy inventing new creatures,” Muller said in an interview. This can be seen in various of his works such as Humming bird Sauna made out of copper and steel and Benevolent bomber depicting a ‘bomber fish’. His humorous The very worst post natal disaster depicts a runaway baby pram heading towards misfortune.

Craig Muller
The very worst post natal disaster
Aquarelle on paper

He has exhibited work at various art galleries which include many group exhibitions in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town. In September 2010, he featured with other prominent South African artists for the conservation of the environment. He was also a featured artist alongside Diek Grobler at the 2012 Innibosfees art festival in Nelspruit. He has had two solo events at the Tina Skukan Gallery and the Pretoria Association of Arts Gallery respectively. His solo exhibition, “The End of Days Variety Reminder” at Tina Skukan gallery in Pretoria features Muller’s interpretation of the end of the world through various drawings and metal sculptures. (Listen to an interview on RSG here).

Muller plans to experiment with etching, work on larger works in 2D and 3D and is currently preparing for a large show planned at the UJ Contemporary gallery in Johannesburg in June 2013. See more at www.art.co.za/craigmuller.

Photographs by Rupert de Beer


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