John Robert Craft is one of the 45 emerging and established artists picked for the International Print Center New York’s current exhibition, New Prints 2012/Winter. His print, Full Circle, was picked by the show’s jurors from a pool of over 2,300 submissions. He also runs a commercial cattle ranch outside Amarillo, Texas.
“I make my living off of the land, and I’m pretty closely connected to the land and the landscape,” said Craft. “Most of my sculpture has a geological reference. And if it isn’t geological it tends to look like a “contemporary artifact.”
Craft believes this geographic influence also makes its way into his prints. “I’ve always wanted the prints to reflect the weight and mass of the sculptural instrument that was used to create the image,” he said.
Craft created Full Circle by carving a circle into a plywood matrix using a 50 lbs. sculpture consisting of stacked pyramid shapes. Then the plywood was inked and relief printed onto paper. Craft uses his sculptures to create all his prints.
Even his first prints reflect his duel occupation of rancher and artist. He printed the surface of personally forged copper cubes on rawhide.
Craft describes his process as intuitive. “I get better work doing that then having a real rigid idea of where I’m going. This works very analogously to my work on the ranch. If you try to force a cow to do something it’s going to end in tears.”
Additionally, the artist has designed jewelry for Barney’s and Banana Republic, and created guerilla art from bamboo shoots in the yards of Australia. He lives on his ranch with his wife and two daughters. Additional work can be found online at johnrobertcraft.com.