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CRAIG LAROTONDA

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usMistress of The Innerworld.

SOLO LIENZOS, NO ARTE COMERCIAL.

Craig LaRotonda's sensual artwork graces the walls of private collectors' homes and cutting edge web sites as well as the covers of books and national magazines. His distinctive art appears in the full-length motion picture " Traffic" 2000 (dir. Steven Soderbergh, starring Michael Douglas) as well as the film, "The Heartbreakers" 2000 (w/Gene Hackman and Sigourney Weaver.) His work is particularly known in the film community where private collectors include director Michael Lindsay-Hogg and actors Gedde Watanabe, Kirsten Dunst and Johnny Depp.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe Shepherd.

Craig's influences include the internationally renowned illustrator Alan Cober, with whom he studied at S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo where he received his B.F.A. in Art. After 10 years of working as an artist on the east coast, Craig and his partner, Kim Maria moved to San Francisco where they opened the intriguing and exotic, Revelation Gallery. LaRotonda's eerie and contemplative paintings have been exhibited in Hollywood, New York, Santa Monica, Detroit, Atlanta, Scottsdale, Buffalo and San Francisco.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usCeremony.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usGuile and the Beacon

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Image Hosted by ImageShack.usHermonkulese.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAn Odyssey of Unknown Magnitude.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usEve and The Serpent.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usVision of Grace.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe Reincarnation of Rumplestiltskin.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe Wormlings.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usA Twist of Fate.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usMercurial Circumstance.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usBehold These Tears.

Walking out the door of his studio in San Francisco, Craig LaRotonda comes upon a small, dead bird. Only the faintest wisp of white feathers is visible upon the poor creature's seemingly reptilian skin. The bird looks like a dandelion that has been used in a game of "he loves me, he loves me not," abandoned by a tomboyish young girl who discovers a diversion of greater interest prior to learning an answer to her question. Its craning neck gives the impression of a final struggle following the fall from the nest, however brief, prior to the inevitable expiration of life.

LaRotonda rushes back into his studio, selecting an empty, lidded jar from a shelf in his workspace. Outside, he respectfully picks up the bird, placing it in the jar and sealing the lid. Following a few short weeks on a sunlit windowsill, all that will remain of the bird will be its tiny, fragile skeleton, and within a year, this skeleton will be immortalized in one of LaRotonda's unique pieces of artwork.

While Craig LaRotonda's first passion is oil painting, he has also created numerous assemblages, illustrations and sculptures, often in collaboration with his partner, Kim Maria, and just as often utilizing found pieces of all shapes, sizes, and origins. Since moving to San Francisco nearly five years ago, LaRotonda and Maria opened and continue to run Revelation Studios, a combined fine art and commercial studio. With more than twenty-five group and solo exhibitions in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Atlanta and New York to his credit, LaRotonda is the embodiment of a working artist.

Although not fond of categorization, LaRotonda considers his painting a mix of expressionism and surrealism. "My paintings explore the unspeakable nature of consciousness. I think reality is much more than what we perceive with the five senses. I'm captivated by the spaces in between, like the passage between life and death, which seems to play continuously in my work."

Raised in suburban Buffalo, New York, LaRotonda studied art with renowned illustrators Alan Cober and Jerry Pickney at the State University of New York at Buffalo. There, he honed his drawing skills, which he utilizes as the fundamental basis of his work, often conceptualizing individual pieces within the image through metaphor while always studying the subject with a mindful eye.

"One of my biggest influences in art has been photographer Joel Peter Witkin. His work absolutely floors me. The way in which he incorporates both beauty and grotesque elements in one piece is positively brilliant. I think he's one of the most exciting contemporary artists."

After earning his BFA, LaRotonda continued producing work in his hometown until 1997, when he moved San Francisco with his partner Kim, and his faithful dog Zed. LaRotonda's Revelation Studios is a short flight (or a 6 and a half hour drive) from Hollywood, and many of his works of art found their way to tinsel-town. As a regular installation at Los Angeles' La Luz de Jesus Gallery, LaRotonda's work has attracted the attention of private collectors and celebrities alike.

His paintings and collaborative sculptures are hanging in the homes of actors Kirstin Dunst and Johnny Depp, as well as director Michael Lindsey-Hogg. LaRotonda's work has also recently appeared in three major motion pictures through his relationship with Film Art LA. His triptych The Ascension, a stark image depicting a seated man peering intently at the viewer, appears behind Dennis Quaid's desk in the Academy Award winning film Traffic, and three additional pieces were used in Sigourny Weaver and Gene Hackman's 2001 film Heartbreakers.

Raised in the Roman Catholic faith, LaRotonda has since studied Buddhist, Islamic and Hindu texts in the search for insights into the connection of the soul to the creative energies of the universe. He believes that his ability to create comes from a source outside of the ego, beyond the self. In eastern metaphysics, the self fully realized is something infinite. All aspects of life, from the food we eat to the way we dance, are potentially enhanced through meditative introspection and a focus on simply being, thus providing expressions of the divine in every action we undertake.

Such introspection is prevalent in LaRotonda's work. His subjects often seem to be turning inward, perhaps searching for enlightenment. Since his subjects seldom interact directly with the viewer, LaRotonda's paintings turn the viewer into a voyeur, peering into a private, meditative moment in time. It is no coincidence that while working in his studio, LaRotonda shuts out the distractions of everyday life and focuses with a meditative precision on the work at hand. "When I'm in the studio, I always have the stereo on. I'm really influenced by music, from old jazz to Indian classical music. The thing I am moved by is passion. I listen to long trance types of music, like Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. It can really heighten the mood."

Though LaRotonda has abandoned many of the precepts of the Catholicism, he maintains a profound respect for the Renaissance masters' depiction's of Christ and other religious figures. Several of his striking and profoundly enigmatic compositions employ echoes of religious iconography, imbued with a sacred, mysterious and dreamlike quality. The focal point of many pieces center around the head of his subjects, which are often adorned with crowns or halos, reflecting the presence of thoughtfulness or the attainment of inner peace. In his more recent work, LaRotonda replaces pious humans with monkeys as a metaphor for the evolution of human consciousness.

His subjects vary from portraits of a never photographed eastern mystic (Mahavatar Babaji) to circus freaks, from regal simians (I'm A Monkey Too) to self-portraits undergoing an arthropodal metamorphosis. In an ongoing series of mummy paintings, LaRotonda explores his subjects as an artifact of the way we have lived in the past, and how human remains serve to illustrate the passage of time, as well as our place in time as individuals, another seminal theme of his work. Indeed, the abstract settings often utilized by the artist gives the impression of transcending time. "I see my work as transportation for the mind, rooted neither in time or place."
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