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Natalie Marie Crane

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Sonoma, CA

Birth year

Lives in
San Francisco

Works in
San Francisco


L'Accademia di Belle Arti
San Francisco State University

figurative, photography, traditional, modern, surrealism, landscape, realism, Water

Artist Statement

My work focuses on human figures and behavior. I love to stare at people and determine what colors and shapes make up who they are in that very moment. I enjoy imagining what someone might look like under different circumstances and use colors that might not appear on or near them in reality. I use lenses such as mirrors and water to distort the natural shape, color, and texture of the body. I am particularly intrigued by the way a person’s surroundings affect their skin tone. I continuously remind myself that flesh is translucent and extremely reflective, all the colors around the body affect how it appears. I experiment with using as many colors as I can while maintaining a natural looking figure. Instead of trying to make a perfectly rendered form, I put colors right next to each other that will bring out each other’s brilliance instead of blending them together. Every painting I create is conglomeration of shapes and colors culminating in the final product. Each shape I paint works as a gear while the colors work as teeth. The painting operates properly when all parts fit together, in an often times unexpected way, and everything turns at once in a pivotal moment for the viewer.

The subjects I paint are portrayed in ambiguous positions giving the viewer not only the power to attribute their own take on what the subject is doing and how it feels, but also to discover and determine how the figure relates to them personally. I want the audience to explore each part of my paintings and understand with their eyes how the different elements of the piece are working together. In my experience, the more I look at a piece of work and truly study it, the more connections I build within the artwork. After the struggle of figuring out how something happened one may interpret his or her own personal experiences differently. The process of building connections between the different elements helps guide the viewer into their own personalized emotional response.

Each frame and panel I use to paint on I build from 100 year old redwood that has been salvaged from houses, furniture, bows, and various other objects or structures that my great grandfather built in the 1800s. I expose the rawness of each piece of wood by leaving it unfinished in the built frame to show the beauty of the natural state in which it started. The purpose for which the wood served was to provide for, house, and protect our family. My life is extremely different than his spiritual, strict, and tradition lifestyle. Although the wood he used is providing a sense of stability for me so many years later, it is now backing up and supporting a new set of ideas and values that might have been considered radical and unwelcome through his eyes. Every tool I use to build my panels and frames are ones that he or another member or my family owned and actively used. Painting onto something that was originally made with very specific mechanical intentions, including foundation and stability, juxtaposes the hesitation of each stroke I make and uncertainty of the outcome of each piece.

My purpose for creating art is to develop a deep connection with at least one individual, where a revelation or an inner emotion is soon manifested after identifying with a piece of my work. The art I produce exhibits many colors that are organic and real. The objective is to create a raw experience for the consumer. I aim to create an outer body experience, where the feeling of warmth or cool flush the viewers face while taking in the visual stimulation of shapes and diverse colors that intertwine into a solid and tangible depiction of human sentiment. My mission is to continue to study human behavior and emotion. One may say there are only a certain amount of emotions one can experience or describe, I want to create images that emulate the feelings that are unspoken or maybe even undetermined.

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