James Crandall — Memento Mori so Paint What Matters to You

The BoldBrush Show: Episode #73

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Today, we sat down with James Crandall, an artist with a deep love of capturing candid moments in time that reflect everyday life while also focusing on interesting plays of light. In this episode we talked about how his past as an illustrator helped him in certain aspects when he decided to pursue representational painting, how the intention with which you paint determines the outcome, and the differences between painting for yourself and painting for the market. Finally we discuss his YouTube channel, the pros and cons of social media, his lovely paintings of Lucca, and the reality of being a painter or craftsperson in a time when everything is perpetually changing faster and faster because of the internet.

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James Crandall: 0:00

to not care what the other humans think of what you've done, that's actually kind of a very isolating thing. Most people want some validation from other people. And they can't, you know, an artist can't help but anticipate. What might the other people who will see this, like, or find pleasing? I mean, I don't think there's anything. That's not a sellout to me. You know, you're participating in your culture.

Laura Arango Baier: 0:32

Welcome to the BoldBrush show, where we believe that fortune favors the bold brush. My name is Laura Arango Baier, and I'm your host. For those of you who are new to the podcast. We are a podcast that covers art marketing techniques, and all sorts of business tips specifically to help artists learn to better sell their work. We interview artists at all stages of their careers as well as others were in careers tied to the art world in order to hear their advice and insights. Today, we sat down with James Crandall, an artist with a deep love of capturing candid moments in time that reflect everyday life while also focusing on interesting plays of light. In this episode, we talked about how his past as an illustrator helped him in certain aspects when he decided to pursue representational painting, how the intention with which you paint determines the outcome, and the differences between painting for yourself and painting for the market. Finally, we discuss his YouTube channel, the pros and cons of social media. His lovely paintings of Luca, Pham, the reality of being a painter or craftsperson in a time when everything is perpetually changing faster and faster because of the internet. Welcome, James to the BoldBrush show. How are you today? I'm

James Crandall: 1:42

good. Thank you, Laura.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:46

I am very excited to talk to you because we were just chatting before the interview. And we have a lot of things that we share in common, of course, our love for the ancient Greek stoic philosophy. But before we dive into all of that, and how it you know, comes into your work, and maybe some of the themes that you'd like to explore, do you mind giving us a little bit of background about who you are and what you do?

James Crandall: 2:11

Well, it's pretty simple. I was an illustrator in Los Angeles, from about 1980 Until about 2006. And I worked in the advertising industry as a concept artist. So I'd be drawing things out of my head, or from reference photographs for clients, like Lexus or Paramount Studios or something. So it wasn't things that the public would see, it was there were pictures that were taken to meetings, for people to discuss concepts. And then about 2006, I kind of got burned out and was tired of city life. And so my wife and I moved to Northern California to the country. And I gradually got out of advertising and started painting full time.

Laura Arango Baier: 3:04

Wow, nice. Um, that's wow, you know, it's very interesting that I keep coming across really great illustrators who become really great realist painters. And I find it so interesting. I don't know if it's because illustration has something about it that is just that helps simplify, you know, something in a beautiful way, or it helps with the, I guess, the composition or the color understanding of things in a way that just being trained in academia just doesn't really reach that point. So I'm always fascinating when I see illustrators who become representational painters for that reason, because they, they're amazing. And

James Crandall: 3:48

there's a lot of illustrators who are making paintings now. Yes, there's, there's there's less traditional illustration work, frankly,

Laura Arango Baier: 3:58

very true. Yeah. And it's still recognizable to of course, because, you know, like Norman Rockwell, for example. He's very, like, he's definitely illustrative. But it's also representational at the same time. So that's like, a good example of like that in between space, but I feel like it's so easy for illustrators to go in both directions, you know, very, you know, in a way that is a lot harder if you just train on one side, like the representational side, and then you try to go into illustration. I feel like that's a lot more challenging. Yeah, I

James Crandall: 4:26

don't know anyone who's done that. Yeah, me either.

Laura Arango Baier: 4:31

Hopefully, we can have someone on the show of the future who has, but yeah, yeah. Um, so speaking of though, obviously, you know, illustration and painting representationally they have that key element of, you know, being an artist, right. So I wanted to know, did the paths of the artists choose you or did you choose a path for the artist?

James Crandall: 4:53

I think I chose it. I didn't feel obliged to do it, and I did well in school. When in liberal arts college, and it just, it just seemed to me that of all the things I was reasonably good at, I was particularly good at making pictures. And I also liked it. And it seemed like, it would be more fun. And that was sort of true and sort of not that. So that's the way I went. Oh, interesting. So I eventually went to a professional art school called Art Center College of Design, which still exists and is actually much larger. But at the time, it was only about 1000 students. And the theme of the school was to train us to work in industry. So there were car designers that were filmmakers, they were photographers, they were product designers. And there were illustrators. And at the time, we were looking forward to going out in the world and doing illustrations for print magazines, or album covers, or movie posters. Most of which barely exist anymore. Course. Yeah. And I did some of that. But mostly, I got involved in Los Angeles with this conceptual art thing, because it was a much more regular gig, and, and a require less effort on my part in marketing, and I just sort of put myself out there and then people called me.

Laura Arango Baier: 6:29

Right? Right, would that be kind of like industrial design, you know, how they make like a sort of like a design, save for a car that doesn't exist and hasn't really been engineered yet. But you know, that in that sort of route? Well,

James Crandall: 6:41

in my case, no. Cars already designed. The car company has already and I worked. I did a lot for car counts. But you know, Lexus would hire an ad agency. And they would come up out for ideas for print, and for, for video. And they would hire me to come in and sort of make their ideas visible. So that they would take my storyboards, or my mock ups of what the ad would look like to meetings. And, you know, ask the client, can we spend a million dollars making this TV commercial? Or will you spend, you know, Will? Can we go hire a photographer to make this print ad? So my work is, had to be done very quickly. And with what however, I could manage to put together the image. Right. So it was very hectic, a lot of deadlines. Sometimes I worked at home, but often I worked right in their office. Interesting. Would you say it was interesting? Yeah.

Laura Arango Baier: 7:48

Would you say that that time pressure, you know, had an effect in you know, painting, for example, like alla prima for you, like now as an artist? Or has that affected you at all?

James Crandall: 7:58

Oh, I'm sure it has. I don't seem to it's good and bad. I, I work very quickly, or I can work very quickly. I'm used to because I was used to starting the thing, doing the most important aspects first, because I never knew when a when a guy in a suit and tie was just kind of come in the room and take it away from me. On the other hand, I didn't I didn't do a lot of things that were very finished. So I didn't have those experiences. But I will say that now I have no trouble starting nothing. I have no trouble sticking to it. I have no trouble coming back to it. None of that fazes me if anything, I have trouble stopping.

Laura Arango Baier: 8:48

Oh, my gosh. Yeah.

James Crandall: 8:51

And I? Yeah, I think that that about seven. Yeah. And the fact that I had, I was just drawing all day, every day when I was at work. And that's just a ton of practice. It is. It is. I don't know that there's any substitute for that. I was drawing more probably than I did when I was in art school, you know, spending more hours drawing. Yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 9:23

and I would say that that was probably very beneficial. It's really interesting, because I always hear this, this advice, you know, from from people who aren't artists, or are artists who have had a day job that was not art related, because they tell you, Oh, you shouldn't have an art related day job because then you're just gonna burn yourself out and you won't want to work on your work. But I think it depends a lot on the work itself because I interviewed a few months ago, I interviewed someone who worked as an illustrator as well for a children's cartoon. And he mentioned how that helped him in his own way. Because of the same thing you just said, of having extra time, extra practice extra, you know, being in front of the canvas and problem solving, you know, for all of his time, I think it's very beneficial. It's like the whole, gosh, what's his name? The 10,000 hours theory that some people like to posit, which I'm 5050 on that theory, but but I think it can, it can't be true.

James Crandall: 10:29

I think you could also spend $10,000, repeating the same thing and not making any progress to exactly, it's kind of good. From an illustrator point of view. I was not painting things, I was not making images of things that I chose, they were all assignments, and they came out of left field. And so I couldn't just paint the same thing successfully over and over again, you know, because they were always throwing me curveball. That's even better. Before I forget, the downside is, when I was doing that sort of work, my brain sort of started functioning as kind of like a three dimensional program and a computer where I was very good at visualizing anything from any angle, and then drawing it. That's been a little bit of a handicap as I became a painter, because my approach to painting is to record the shapes and colors that I'm looking at without thinking of them as objects, which is kind of a different place to be. And so my brain switches back and forth those things, and sometimes just kind of irritating. If that makes any sense.

Laura Arango Baier: 11:44

It does. Yeah, it does. It's, you know, the whole theory of, you know, finding shapes, and simplifying them or finding like color shapes, and, you know, putting those on the canvas it. That's very, yeah, it's a very 2d sort of way of conceptualizing reality compared to you know, this person has dimension or this thing has dimension, it's very different. And of course, the 2d I guess, in 2d conceptualizing helps a lot especially with you know, placing for late alla prima you know, you put one thing, then the next thing, the next thing and shapes it, I think it helps simplify it a lot. So I can, I can understand that. It's,

James Crandall: 12:24

in terms of, you know, drawing a figure or a face, you could know a lot about anatomy. And come at it that way, trying to make the picture agree with what you know, to be true. Or you could come at it, like a camera does, knows nothing about anatomy, simply record the shapes and the values, right?

Laura Arango Baier: 12:50

Yeah, there's different levels. I guess I would also call it like levels of what would it be like? I want to say quality levels, but resolution levels, you know, like, how in depth Do you want to get into your subject? Yeah, that's fascinating. This is very interesting drawback, because you would think it would be a useful drawback. And not,

James Crandall: 13:14

I think a lot of ice. I've done a few workshops and talk a little bit. And I found a lot of people struggle with painting what they see, because they're trying to help things along by interjecting what they think they know about the object. Like they think they know what color it should be, or they think they know what shape it should be. And they if they're unconsciously forcing you into that instead of looking

Laura Arango Baier: 13:43

there eater. Yes, there's the whole issue of and I had another guest recently, and she mentioned like, when you get into the realm of skies, blue clouds are white. That's, that's where you start losing, you need to forget that, you know, there's no answers it is, it is because so much of our mental capacity in our brain, you know, our brain puts a pause on being able to, you know, like, you can't just sit in a room and take an absolutely everything at the same time because you'd go crazy. So your brain has to like make things a little easier for you to digest. And being an artist, you have to go against that. In a lot of ways. We have to actually consciously observe something with a little bit of you know, prior knowledge, but at the same time, allowing yourself to really see. So it's such a difficult balance to keep it

James Crandall: 14:33

it's hard, I think, especially for adults to to get hold of that idea when they're trying to get better. Yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 14:42

yeah. Or even just trying to learn, you know, maybe after retirement, which I've met a lot of people who after retirement, they start painting and it's, it's a can of worms for a lot of them, I can imagine.

James Crandall: 14:53

And also, you know, we in America, at least we grew up in sort of a cartoon culture was cartoon Books and comic books and a lot of people think of art in terms of making an outline of things, and then filling them in with color. And that sort of a really kind of antithetical to to actual realism.

Laura Arango Baier: 15:18

Yeah, it is. Oh,

James Crandall: 15:21

People, people think that having a lot of edges and a lot of borders will make a thing look more real. When actually it's the opposite. The more edges you can lose, the more real it's going to feel. Because that's reality.

Laura Arango Baier: 15:34

Exactly. Yeah. There are no no edges in reality that are linear, per se. It's all you know, three dimensional. Isn't the lines.

James Crandall: 15:45

So many things to learn and to unlearn? Yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 15:49

exactly. You know, so much of painting is unlearning. And I think it's the biggest understatement, especially when you go to art school. It's like you realize you've never really looked at someone's face. The way that you do as an artist, you know, you need to see everything.

James Crandall: 16:05

Yes, I saw your train at some point as it is sort of an academy painter, or I guess, but they call him and tell you a painter now. And so probably you had to sit right in front of somebody's face and measure their every little part of their face. And cockin. Yeah, yeah, we did that in my art school, too, but only not for a long time.

Laura Arango Baier: 16:31

Yeah, no, it's a lot. It can be really intimidating. At one of the schools, we were so far away from the model that I we had these binoculars, little binoculars to look at the person's face. And I think that is the most invasive, invasive thing ever. But at the same time, you know, you really notice what you you've never noticed before. And that is that pretty much everyone looks the same. To some extent, which is so funny.

James Crandall: 17:00

But it's also it was for me, it was revealing those those sessions, and I think what they did in my classes was they just hired so many models that there was a person for every three artists, and we sat very close. Oh, that's nice. Yeah. But what I learned was, you know, we, we were admitted to this art school. So we all have some skills. But everybody's result was pretty much fine. You know, everybody's turned out you if you follow the system, it worked. And there was some comfort in that. Yeah. If you measure and make the shapes and really pay attention, you will get the result.

Laura Arango Baier: 17:42

Yeah, very true. Yeah. Did you have to use a specific system at your illustration school?

James Crandall: 17:48

Oh, it was just what do they call it? Site size? Were an extended arm measuring with your dental.

Laura Arango Baier: 17:57

Yeah, cuz I know some illustration schools they'll use, like the What's it there's, I forget the name of the of the Reilly method I think it is where they you know, they have the head and they drew like they divide it and stuff. So it's a very different way to

James Crandall: 18:10

go about that. Although I grew up on manuals that you know, said, you know, third, a third, a third and this 1/3, two thirds and all that. Which is fine, as long as you're drawing someone that's looking directly at you, but the minute they turn your head, it sort of goes out the window. So what's the point? Yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 18:27

yeah. Um, yeah, I mean, and it's also like, not everyone has the same exact proportions. Well, that like, we all kind of approximate to some extent, but I don't think everyone perfectly fits into the exact manual assertion.

James Crandall: 18:43

So someone told me, I think, and I think it was one of my peers who had been a caricature artist at a, at an amusement park before we all went to school. And he said, If you can get this triangle, right, right in here, it doesn't matter what else you do. It'll still be a likeness.

Laura Arango Baier: 19:01

Oh, my God. That's a great point. That's a great point,

James Crandall: 19:04

I think. mostly true. Yeah.

Laura Arango Baier: 19:08

I mean, likeness is something else that I think is, you know, you can get away with so many things and still achieve likeness, you know. But that's a whole other can of worms. But I wanted to ask you, since you have the perspective of an illustrator, and you might have started for one particular reason and now that you're a representational artist, I wanted to know what themes you explore now as representational artists, and what messages you'd like to explore in your work.

James Crandall: 19:43

Yeah, I don't have a message. In my own mind, I'm more interested in technique and sort of the formalities of making a good picture and I'm I'm not I'm not that I've committed to any subject matter, and I don't really have anything profound to say. I'll tell you, I'm a big fan of street photography. And when I was in high school, I was actually more of a photographer than then than an artist than a painter. And I'd like things that are sort of captured serendipitously. And then just have a charm, or a feeling to them, that you wouldn't have thought to construct but just happened. And I like things like that. Yeah.

Laura Arango Baier: 20:38

Yeah, that makes sense. You know, it's like the candid picture, snapshot of, of day to day life as a human being or as whatever you're trying to capture.

James Crandall: 20:47

Yeah, so thanks, thanks. I respect people that do things that are posed and staged and setups and, and all that. But I've never done much of that from my own work. And, and maybe it comes because I don't, I'm, I'm never really confident of how it is I should make a composition, I sort of do it by feel. And it's for me, and especially going through advertising, it's much more easily for me to take a photograph or an existing image and say, well, that's a good image. This is where it should be cropped. And that's, that's mostly my system.

Laura Arango Baier: 21:33

Yeah, you know, there's still something. I mean, I could even say that your lack of message in your work means that the work itself could be a message just on its own, you know, this is life on Earth. And it is, it is what it is.

James Crandall: 21:48

Yeah, it is what it is, which doesn't make a very good artist statement. I found. It's not what really people are looking for. Yeah.

Laura Arango Baier: 21:57

But I mean, these days, artists statements, you know, the no one really reads those anymore, I think? I don't think so. No. So I think it's,

James Crandall: 22:07

which brings up another point, I don't really think the people that buy my paintings care about me. I don't think I don't think they care about my life or my life as an artist. They just want the picture. I don't expect them to care about me or my message.

Laura Arango Baier: 22:24

That's fine, too. Yeah,

James Crandall: 22:28

I like for them to think it's well done, and that they get, you know, gives them pleasure. But they don't need to, you know, consider what drove me to do it doesn't matter.

Laura Arango Baier: 22:40

Interesting. Do you find that? You've reached that point? I guess. Actually, no, I wonder why. Why have you maybe reached that point with your work of having that perspective?

James Crandall: 22:54

Well, maybe it extends from being an illustrator, I just, I try to satisfy myself in the art making, while I'm making something that someone else will like. Because when you're an illustrator, you don't dictate what what you're painting, you might add something to the solution or inject your some of your own ideas. But the client doesn't really want to be surprised by some radical departure you've made. They want what they want. And you can, it's analogous, really, I think, to the history of art, I mean, Michelangelo gets a commission to do the ceiling, he's not free to do what he wants. He's told what has to be up there. And when sergeant, you know, takes money for a portrait, he's meant not to convey reality even but to make the sitter look good and important. And so he's really an illustrator, too. Yeah. When he's doing that work, when he's on vacation and doing what he's wants. He can stop calling himself you can stop calling him an illustrator. But he's the same artist. Hmm.

Laura Arango Baier: 24:11

Very interesting point to make. Yeah, it's like, Who are you when you don't paint for anyone but yourself. You know, it's like, it's very different. It's like the two faces of, I guess, of, of sales in a way like if you want to, if you want to be an artist who sells their work, versus an artist who is not swayed by any market and just wants to do it for the heck heck of it.

James Crandall: 24:35

And I think that the latter person is a rare bird and indeed to to not care what the other humans think of what you've done. That's actually kind of a very isolating thing. Most people want some validation from other people. And they can't, you know, an artist can't help but anticipate. What might the other people Who will see this? Like, or find pleasing? I mean, I don't think there's anything. That's not a sellout to me. You know, you're participating in your culture. Right,

Laura Arango Baier: 25:13

right. Yeah. I mean, I don't think there's any any, quote unquote bad or good approach, right? Because in the end, even if you do paint for a market or you don't, you know, you're still doing it, primarily because you love it, right? Like the least that's what most of us do it for we do it because like you said, In the beginning, it's fun. I can do whatever I want.

James Crandall: 25:37

I have my preferences for subject matter, but But it's like a Venn diagram, you know, things I'd like to paint things people might buy. There's an overlap, but it's not complete, you know, because a lot of what I might do or do do is completely unpalatable to people, you know, if it's too much about decay, or sadness, or, and who am I going to sell that to? I, I, but I, but sometimes I just feel like I need to get that out of my system. Well, yeah, I just, I just find sort of a you know, I might just find kind of a depressing image. Intriguing. That's what I want to do.

Laura Arango Baier: 26:22

Oh, my gosh, you know, I admit, I have a lot of ideas, but they're all very, very, either gruesome or depressing. And I

James Crandall: 26:30

know there's a school behind you.

Laura Arango Baier: 26:36

Oh, my gosh, you are right. I do have a school behind me when

James Crandall: 26:40

I was in college, around that time, and right after I got out, I did add chickens. And I have an etching press. I did a change of graves.

Laura Arango Baier: 26:51

Interesting. Not

James Crandall: 26:54

not fleshy body graves, but skeletons in graves. I just found that, you know, archaeological sites. So looking from archaeological photos, I found that completely fascinating and fun to draw. Nobody wants them. Nobody wants to hang that in their house, because they would be forever explaining why do you have a picture of a skeleton and a grave on your wall? I don't get that.

Laura Arango Baier: 27:18

Oh, my gosh. You know, it's so funny how that is so taboo, you know, just, you know, from my opinion over here. It is one of the most natural things out there. And I understand maybe people don't don't find it, you know, palatable to think about death every day. But I tell you, you know, I think about it every day. Yeah, yeah. You know, when I

James Crandall: 27:44

don't think it was, I don't think it was always taboo. I mean, you have the, you know, the momentum Mori paintings, that where a person would be holding a skull, or contemplating a skull, or a still life with that kind of objects. And that went along with religion to probably at the time, but it was the idea that, you know, don't be too materialistic. Don't be too proud. Don't be too vain. You're gonna die. And I think there was a time, especially when people didn't live as long when that wouldn't be something you'd have in your home to remind you. You know, your time was short. You weren't that important.

Laura Arango Baier: 28:26

Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, it's not even a gloomy thing. To be honest. You know, I think it's, I know, it can be very sad, obviously, to lose someone and to you know, not know what really happens next, or firing, so I totally get it. But yeah, it's it's interesting how there are subjects as artists that are almost like untouchable for the market. Unless you find some creepy person out there who maybe exists who would love to have that on their wall? You know, maybe it's one in a one in a million out there. But yeah, it's interesting that if you could paint anything you wanted, you know, without caring about anything in the world that I feel like that says a lot about the things that you really care about in life you know, and the things that you personally resonate with you know, not to say that you know, people can't resonate with things that are marketable but it's a very big difference

James Crandall: 29:27

sometimes I always angry people who just naturally want to paint cheerful things. Because I think what it what an incredible advantage in the market to just like to paint cheerful things and want to do nothing else.

Laura Arango Baier: 29:44

What a boon that is, it is it is a great boon.

James Crandall: 29:48

Where is it? You know, you know, the few times I've painted flowers, and I can paint flowers, you know, I'm not, I'm not practiced at it, but I you know, it'll look like a flower But the whole time I'm thinking this really isn't me.

Laura Arango Baier: 30:06

Yeah, yeah, it feels it feels a little bit wrong.

James Crandall: 30:10

Unless there's flowers, and they're dead on, it was a skull there, that would be me.

Laura Arango Baier: 30:14

There you go. Oh, that's so fascinating. Um, I did want to know, by the way, since we're talking about, you know, the work that you want versus the work that you had maybe to do, I was curious to know, when was the moment when you were at your day job. And you said, I can't take this anymore. I'm going to just do this on my own.

James Crandall: 30:38

It was gradual. And it part of it was, Well, part of it was the pressure but but other part of it was, I was no longer working in traditional media. As advertising agencies computerized and they were laying out everything and designing everything on computers, themselves, they really wanted a digital product for me. And at first, it meant scanning drawings, and it meant scanning drawings and coloring them in the computer. And, and eventually, I just gave in, and I said, Well, I'm just going to do the entire thing on a graphics tablet. And towards the end, it was, I felt like I was kind of just making photo collages that I was painting over. So at first, it was kind of fun. But then it got to be kind of a bore. And I wasn't going back. And then I even got into 3d programs, I you know, it was just a matter of I need to I need to compete and to compete, I have to be the fastest person didn't make car images in Los Angeles, or they might stop calling. So

Laura Arango Baier: 31:57

I can only imagine I mean, it's so competitive there too for for jobs like that. So well. But

James Crandall: 32:02

you can't fault them. I mean, it used to be you know, there'd be you know, if there was a campaign in progress, there might be 10 artists in a room trying to produce the presentation. And towards the end, a person could do it by themselves. Or with or two people could because the computer just accelerated everything.

Laura Arango Baier: 32:28

Wow. That's crazy.

James Crandall: 32:30

Which is a loss of jobs, if you think about it, but but there's nothing you can do about that.

Laura Arango Baier: 32:38

Oh, man. And

James Crandall: 32:40

you know, the interesting thing is larger x where you can say, you know, we like the look of the hand drawn work better, but nobody else cares. The digital work is good enough for the purpose. Right? And we can't afford to pay you to do it by hand.

Laura Arango Baier: 33:00

Right? It's extra hours. And of course, you know, profits profits are king. So oh, that's unfortunate. But at least you know, you disentangle yourself from that. What was the transition like for you from like, day job to full time artists were able to jump right in? Or did you have it as like a

James Crandall: 33:22

I was already painting on the side. And I had one gallery. And as I was getting out of the business, I added some galleries, but moving away from Los Angeles, sort of created the change. I just wasn't part of the politics of the office anymore. And so I wasn't getting as much work and I didn't care anymore about getting work. And I just spent more and more time making my own pictures. So that's how that happened. It took about five years for it to go away completely, but

Laura Arango Baier: 33:58

wow. Five year I did pretty good.

James Crandall: 34:01

Yeah, it slowed to a dribble and then it was gone. And I said Good riddance.

Laura Arango Baier: 34:06

Yeah. Oh my gosh. And I'm sure you'd never he'd never turn back anyway.

James Crandall: 34:12

No, it was too late. And also I was getting older. And advertising is a very youth driven thing. In the sense of if you're designing advertising, there's very few people under 40 in a creative department and and and they will they all know the current music they know the current fashions, they know the current movies, they know the current special effects. And I was really losing touch with all that anyway. That's fine. Yeah, it is what it is. Oh, man, but that sucks. Um, yeah, I'm glad at least you know, you still wound doing something you enjoy. And it made and it made, it made young art directors uncomfortable to be working with me? Because it was weird for them. Right, right. Especially in person. The older experienced guy under their command, it was weird for everyone. So I

Laura Arango Baier: 35:22

can imagine. Wow.

James Crandall: 35:25

And also, I would, you know, I got very cynical because the young art directors who would come with a new idea, and I'd heard it 10 times before in my career, and I just could not get enthusiastic about it, because it wasn't new to me. You know, that's the idea that a car would drive down the street, and people would think it was so beautiful that they turned and looked at her amaze. That's as old as the hills. But every time I knew our director would come up, came up with it. He thought he thought it up for the first time. It was very enthusiastic.

Laura Arango Baier: 36:00

That's actually kind of endearing. It is. Yeah. Oh, man. Yeah, it's, it's yeah, it's like the equivalent of you know, someone painting an apple, I guess. And being like, this is still alive, it is like yet, or like apples and grapes in a bowl, you know, it's been done. Doesn't mean it can't be done, again, with

James Crandall: 36:21

a little tiny statue. I'm stepping on some toes there.

Laura Arango Baier: 36:29

Oh, man, but there's nothing wrong with it. Right. I mean, there's also the fact that, you know, there's nothing new under the sun. And so therefore, there's no pressure to just do it again. There

James Crandall: 36:41

could be I mean, what, you know, sometimes I've seen fine artists get successful in a certain subject matter, and then get bored with it before their customers did. And that's the problem. It is, yeah. Because he's saying, I don't want to do that same thing again. And that is saying, we're not really interested in other things that you do.

Laura Arango Baier: 37:06

And that's the other issue of painting for the market. It's a, you will most likely have a popular painting that everyone's gonna ask for, and you're gonna get sick and tired of it in five minutes. And I've heard that from multiple painters who have been on the on the podcast. But

James Crandall: 37:25

that's not, that's not a new thing. I mean, Monet may have started his haystacks as a fun exercise and been excited with before, but I think history shows that the reason he made so many is because they were selling. He needed the money. So he made more, you know, that's nothing wrong with it. No, no, I'm sure you know, you get I personally, I don't mind doing a painting or some more painting again. Because in my mind, I'm having a different experience. And I'm trying different things. And the client may not even realize it, but but I'm working off of past experience. And I have a different approach in mind. It's pretty subtle, and it won't bother them.

Laura Arango Baier: 38:14

Right? Yeah. Cuz this will get what they wanted, anyway. Yeah. Yeah,

James Crandall: 38:18

my favorite thing to do is for people to find a little painting that I did as a study and say, Gee, I wish that were really big. And I'd say I can do that. I would love to do that.

Laura Arango Baier: 38:30

Oh, that's great. Yeah, you know, I think you can work around those things in ways that are, you know, more pleasurable for for you, right. Like, I think, I mean, I did hear one of my guests, she said, Oh, yeah, if I want to make some money, I just paint a few extra of this type of painting that I know will sell. And that'll give me time to be able to work on the stuff actually enjoy. So there's a way of, you know, balancing it out, you know, it's not and

James Crandall: 38:57

there's nothing wrong with that. But I would point out that that is not different from one of the Illustrator does.

Laura Arango Baier: 39:06

That makes perfect sense. Yeah. Yeah, I

James Crandall: 39:09

did the illustration so that later, I could paint what I wanted to paint.

Laura Arango Baier: 39:13

Exactly. Exactly. And you got practice out of it, too, which is great. Yeah. BoldBrush We inspire artists to inspire the world because creating art creates magic, and the world is currently in desperate need of magic. BoldBrush provides artists with free art, marketing, creativity, and business ideas and information. This show is an example. We also offer written resources, articles and a free monthly art contest open to all visual artists. We believe that fortune favors the bold brush, and if you believe that to sign up completely free at BoldBrush show.com. That's BOLDBRUSH show.com. The BoldBrush Show is sponsored by FASO. Now more than ever Ever, it's crucial to have a website when you're an artist, especially if you want to be a professional in your career. Thankfully, with our special link faso.com forward slash podcast, you can make that come true. And also get over 50% off your first year on your artists website. Yes, that's basically the price of 12 lattes in one year, which I think is a really great deal considering that you get sleek and beautiful website templates that are also mobile friendly, e commerce print on demand in certain countries, as well as access to our marketing center that has our brand new art marketing calendar. And the art marketing calendar is something that you won't get with our competitor, the art marketing calendar gives you day by day, step by step guides on what you should be doing today, right now, in order to get your artwork out there and seen by the right eyes, so that you can make more sales this year. So if you want to change your life and actually meet your sales goal this year, then start now by going to our special link faso.com. Forward slash podcast. That's faso.com/podcast. Yeah. Speaking of Do you have any advice for someone who wants to, you know, become a full time artists?

James Crandall: 41:07

Yeah, somehow I knew you would ask me that. I don't, I don't have any advice. And the reason is, I've never made a living as a painter of paintings. There may have been one or two years where I sold enough, you could have called it a modest living. But mostly, I live off. You know, retirement income and savings from when I was an illustrator. And my income as a painting Painter is just supplemental, I don't know. I know some painters who paint full time and and make a living from it. But I think they're a lot more rare than people imagine. I think, you know, a lot of people have spouses that produce most of the income in the family or a large part of it. Or, you know, they have family mind and money or some something that lets them do what is really a very generally unprofitable thing. Making pictures. Yeah, I mean, an exception I can think of as someone who I know, there's a who, well, I won't name him, but he's one of my classmates, one of my good friends. And he did illustration when he got out in another state. And he gradually got into the portrait painting business. And I know from talking to him, he doesn't want to do that anymore. He would rather do other things. But he still does a lot of that to pay bills. And he and he does a collection of things. He does some teaching, and he, he paints some things for galleries. But he hasn't been able to abandon the portrait painting because it pays so well. And he's got kids and I don't.

Laura Arango Baier: 43:10

Yeah, you know, I feel like every artists I've seen who makes a living from their work, usually supplements it and, you know, and all the ways that you've mentioned in teaching, or galleries or online or workshops, you know, they'll do various things, because, you know, it's, it's really hard. And I mentioned this also, in previous episodes where it's hard when you're both the, you know, the the production line, write your like person on the production line, and then you're also the one that picks it up, and, you know, puts it out there, it's really hard, especially if you're slow painter, right? So like, for example, like Odd Nerdrum, he makes maybe six paintings a year, and that's a lot for him, because they're massive paintings. But of course, he has his collectors from like before, so he has ways of supplementing his income. He has his books he has, you know, he teaches I don't know if he teaches workshops anymore now, but he also used to do workshops used to, you know, diversify income, right, so it's, uh, yeah, it's not easy.

James Crandall: 44:12

Not easy. It's always changing, isn't it? Yes. I have a couple of working artists who have withdrawn from all brick and mortar galleries, because they simply have a small group of you know, wealthy collectors who they can depend on. Right. And that is, that is the core of their business, keeping those people happy and giving them what they want and they don't really need to look elsewhere for income, or you know, they might teach but they don't need to. And then I have other people who sell a little teach a lot. It just depends.

Laura Arango Baier: 44:58

Yeah, yeah. It's a it's a career with no rules. Really. That's what makes it so challenging. And it's one of the reasons we have this podcast, who is to show how, how many different paths there are. And every person's path is just entirely different sometimes. But it's still good to hear, you know, how someone has been able to navigate through, you know, their life and the way that they've been able to do things, because sure there, I mean, everyone's path is different. But there might be some similarities, right? Or some, some ideas, right? Like, for example, teaching that, in general, if someone's good at teaching, it's good to teach, pass on the knowledge, and then you also get paid for it. That's really great. So it's, it's good to know.

James Crandall: 45:42

Also, I see a lot of artists, especially women who are so good at socializing, and have such great personalities, that they sell tons of workshops and lessons and some of their paintings. And it's not that they're the necessarily the very best technical painters. But they have they have a different package. And for me, you know, sometimes it's just having people that want to support you. Who can afford to help you out?

Laura Arango Baier: 46:19


James Crandall: 46:20

there's really nothing nothing new. Apart from you know, apart from the destruction of the culture from by the Internet.

Laura Arango Baier: 46:28

You know, I was about to ask you about the internet. So yeah, you don't have how, you know, oh, man, how do you find? Or how do you feel actually about social media? And, you know, in YouTube, because you have a YouTube channel? How do you feel about these social media platforms, in terms of, you know, these, using them as tools, right, for artists?

James Crandall: 46:53

Yeah, I participate, because it's not difficult to participate. I had, you know, Facebook and Instagram accounts early on. And I think, before there was so much traffic, I managed to get a lot of followers. But that's almost a function of my timing more than it is what I post, if that makes any sense. So that because I just got in early, and when there were less painters on the internet, I have a lot of followers. But do the logarithms change. And now I find that even though I've got many 1000s of followers, that doesn't mean they're going to see my posts. Whereas before I would post something, and within a couple minutes, like, I'd have hundreds of hits, that just can't happen anymore. And you know, I'm competing with videos of talking dogs and dancing girls, and those are frankly, more appealing than any of my paintings. So I don't know how to compete. And like you mentioned, my YouTube channel, I do have that. But it's funny, I do different kinds of videos, I do some painting and some painting instruction and some drawing instruction. And they're sort of the, they're either showing my process, mostly without comment, or giving little tips. But you know, it gets the most hits on my channel are the videos about making panels and framing because I do my own framing. People are going to YouTube to figure out how to do something for themselves. And that's very often what they're what they're there for. Rather than it but but the people who are looking for how to paint videos, I think is fairly small. But then, you know, I haven't been beating the bushes and I and I don't I don't really attack it the way a younger person might need to to build a career. It's not that important. Yeah, actually one of my top videos was when I decided to change the battery in my BMW motorcycle and and show how it's done. I get hits from all over the world and people thanking me for showing how that's done.

Laura Arango Baier: 49:27

I love that yeah, that's the trick with YouTube you know, YouTube is actually surprisingly actually the best the best part of YouTube is how to side because you'll usually get people every so often always looking for the same exact thing. And I did see I think you your YouTube channel is actually monetized so you actually get a little bit of profit from there too.

James Crandall: 49:51

Little bit. Yeah. It's nice if you could say it pays for my annual paint. Uh, maybe a little more than that. paint paint brushes. How about that? Cuz I destroy a lot of brushes. But yeah, I enjoyed doing it, you know, because I was a storyboard artist. And it was involved in making a commercials I sort of think in, in sort of a storyboard kind of way. So I love editing and I, you know, I enjoy the cameras and the audio and all that stuff, too. Yeah.

Laura Arango Baier: 50:29

Oh, that's sweet, though. Um, that's great. You actually, I think I saw you have like a good few 1000 subscribers on YouTube. So I think I think you're doing great.

James Crandall: 50:40

No, it's okay.

Laura Arango Baier: 50:44

Oh, man, um, do you have any any final advice? I guess for anyone out there who's maybe choosing their career path, maybe they want to be an artist, maybe they don't.

James Crandall: 50:57

It's not going to be easy. And it's probably going to be different in 10 or 20 years than it is now. I think if we're honest with ourselves, there's more and more people who want to make art and try to sell art. But that proportionally, the number of customers is probably going to shrink for cultural reasons, because you're competing with everything that appears on an iPad or a video monitor. And I don't see younger people adopting the tradition of hanging paintings in their homes. My big paintings already have to cost more than an LCD screen have the same size? by a large margin? Are kids going to do that? Are they going to say, well, we could cover this wall with a painting that never changes, or a really big screen? That always changes. I still know how to compete with that. A good point, I think we will just have to wait and see. I do think I my and I'm just guessing. But I would guess that painting will, will follow the track kind of horses. I live in a kind of a horse community out here in the country. And a lot of people have horses. If you think about horses in the middle of night set 19th century, they were essential. They did most of the hard work they did most of the transportation everybody had to know about him, there were a whole industry to take care of them and feed them and chew them and make saddles for them and buggy whips and carriages and all that. And that went away in a fairly short time because of a different technology. But there are still horses because there's a core of people who just like horses, and like being around horses and like riding horses. And that nut that that core is probably stable. And I kind of think the same thing will happen with paintings, it's like it'll the people who care about it will be a smaller and smaller proportion, percentage of the population, but they will cover it care very deeply and it will never quite die. I hope that's not too pessimistic. But that's kind of what I believe it's gonna happen. You know, it's

Laura Arango Baier: 53:42

interesting. It is interesting. We're definitely in a strange time.

James Crandall: 53:46

Attendance is down at art at art galleries. Not just commercial ones, but you know, Metropolitan or any any museum in humanity and COVID was a big hit to it. Yes, but it's never really recovered. And I'm not sure it will. It's the same with, you know, live theater or even movie theaters. It was a great thing. But it may have probably seen its peak.

Laura Arango Baier: 54:15

So sad because I love I love movie theaters. And I love the actual theater. I actually I volunteered at the opera house when I was a teenager because I got to watch all the operas for free.

James Crandall: 54:26

A part of my journey of reconnecting with my Italian family was I got involved with going to the opera in LA when I was still in Los Angeles, of course. The opera going community skews very much older. Yes. But I just found the whole production and ritual of it as even though it seemed, you know, even then it seemed quite anachronistic thing to be doing. You know, going to watch sort of heavy people straight around us. Stage speaking a language that most people in the audience couldn't speak and yet you and yet it generated emotion very strong emotion and a person to watch it and it was very strange to me I'm you know, I even before I understood the Italian I was crying during lava lamp and I couldn't explain why

Laura Arango Baier: 55:23

breaking yeah heartbreaking opera that's a fascinating how it was, you know, opera that led you to reconnect in that way because I was curious I was like why specifically, you know, your your maternal grandfather's, you know, hometown in Italy, you know, but I'm guessing you might have another reason for that. Well,

James Crandall: 55:44

oh, my mother's all Italian. She's father's from Lucca, and her mother's from Calabria, which are practically different countries, but they met in the US and married. But I, I had been taken to see my relatives and Luca, when I was about six or seven. I found it fascinating. My mother actually found it upsetting because she couldn't speak any Italian. And she felt her father had died recently. And she felt it made her sad. And she didn't really want to go back. And I didn't go back until I was married and, you know, had some money in the bank to take myself. And we went for the first time in 2001. And 911 happened while we were there, which was interesting. At the beginning of our trip to, but I got such a warm reception that I went back the next year. And when we went, we would go for a month or more, sometimes two months, and rent an apartment or rent a small house or once we stayed in a cousin's house, because they were out of the out of the country. And we'd go to a lot of family dinners. And we've been there for Christmas. And we've been there for funerals, and we've been there for different events, and I think I'm invited to a wedding this spring. And, you know, in the process, I knew a little Italian going in, but learned a lot more painfully because it's not really a skill I have, but I'm operational now. And and it became the part the time of the year when I, I had plenty of time to take photographs. As opposed to when I was working at my illustration work. And so I would come home with 1000s of photographs, you know, digital photographs that I could use for reference. And that was really the inception of it. So the beginning of it was a family thing. But the end result was it sort of became my self assigned. Artistic subject. And it's nice because it's it's both to me, it's both familiar, but not familiar. And so I'm getting to paint things that I would have trouble finding the United States. People dress differently, people hold themselves differently. The backgrounds, the buildings are obviously in some state of decay, which I like, anyway. And it sort of has that it's kind of like an opposite, you know, in real life. Yeah. And so I found all those things attractive. I could have just as easily stumbled into something else. But that's what i i stumbled into.

Laura Arango Baier: 59:08

That, you know, it's like, you know, you just go with the flow of life and see the sights and respond to them and they stick with Yeah, you know, it's that's how it is.

James Crandall: 59:20

Yeah, thanks just happened to you. I sort of avoided doing kind of postcard views. not look as has not been a big tourist destination until fairly recently. And it doesn't really have too many iconic things that you would say this, this represents Luca. I mean, there's no Leaning Tower of Pisa and there's no UCC and there's no statue of David it's it's just a it's a very peaceful walled city with some churches in it and and And when I was a kid, it was a very dirty, postwar rundown stressed out place. And now it's become kind of a center in Europe. It hosts the European Comicon.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:00:19

Yeah, that says, I think there's something that happens in Lucca. And I remember. Yeah,

James Crandall: 1:00:24

it's huge, did you so everybody comes with their cosplay stuff. And it's crazy. I avoid being there at the time. But but but it's also a very much a music venue that sort of started because Puccini is from Lucca. There's not just an opera house there. And it had a tradition of training foreign opera singers to sing in Italian. It was kind of a mini industry there to teach Italian to opera singers. So you would you would be walking through the country and you would hear someone singing opera out of a window, you know, and they were just studying or practicing. But as since they've since transformed themselves into a real music venue, where they they host and they'll host Clapton or Knopfler and last time we were there, they had the Rolling Stones, and they set up a stage outside the city walls. And most of the people in town were not Lucchese, they you know, they were most of them were British visitors. And, and Luca getting popular like this, it has kind of spoiled it. For me as a subject. Unfortunately, it had to go its own way. But the truth is to go there now and take pictures by take a picture of someone on the street, they're probably not. If it was on there in the dead of winter, they're probably not Italian. Which is okay. Yeah, but if I want so now if I want sort of small town life, I have to go somewhere else. And but in Calabria is like that you don't you know?

Laura Arango Baier: 1:02:08

Yeah, that's true. Wow. Yeah.

James Crandall: 1:02:11

Because I love Luca, but it's kind of lost to me, you know?

Laura Arango Baier: 1:02:15


James Crandall: 1:02:16

You know, I, I'm sure they were trying to, you know, I mean, it's hard for a small town like Luca to compete with, you know, like Florence, which is nearby or even sync with it or which is also nearby, then Rome or, you know, Pisa we, I think it was a change in, in government management. For a long time, they actually have a policy of restricting the number of hotel rooms and restricting the parking, because they did not want people to stay overnight. But okay for them to come in and take on a bus and then leave, but but the Lucchese did not want to be a tourist town for the longest time. But you know, those people, those naysayers got older and died and, and the younger people said, No, we want Luca to be a happen in place. And they got they got the government, they want to do that. And now it's transformed. Yeah. And now there's parking everywhere. And there's a lot of hotels. Yeah, it's just different. It is, it's

Laura Arango Baier: 1:03:18

different. Yeah. I mean, there's, there's always, you know, a downside to, you know, tourism. There's a good side and a downside, right. The good side is, you know, the town is booming, and they have, you know, they can continue to live there, because there's so many empty towns now, you know, in, in Italy, because there's so many people leaving the small towns to go to the big cities. So, you know, this little towns have to survive somehow. So they have to bring tourism or, you know, die out completely. So it's become a strange, strange landscape these days of native birthrates

James Crandall: 1:03:53

that's become the case in the Garfagnana, near Luke code, sort of the mountain, little hilltowns up there, a lot of them would be abandoning except for the fact that foreigners had bought them as vacation homes. Right. So now you go to them and they're they're almost abandoned, because in a given time, there's almost no one there, but everything has been perfect repair because you know, the Dutch or the English or whoever owns them, keeps them in good repair. So so the buildings are preserved, but the culture is gone. makes it interesting. No,

Laura Arango Baier: 1:04:32

no wonder I wonder where that will. How that will end up in the next 2050 years.

James Crandall: 1:04:39

I was getting a lot of my paintings are people working in Lucca, and the tradition and a small Italian town or small city? Wasn't there the individual stores for a very narrow range of products. One of my popular series of paintings was a man that I met and his entire store was chicken products. All he sold were parts of chickens, chickens, and eggs, and nothing else. And next door, the guy sold fish, and octopus and nothing else. And, you know, on the other side of town, there were women who made fresh pasta every day and nothing else. But now all those places are going away. The owners are retiring. And they're being replaced by mini Marts. Right. And that, you know, the stuff comes in on many trucks to the narrow streets every day and sort of gets reloaded and, and on but all those, all those old things are going away least in Lucca, I'm sure they still exist in other places. Yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 1:05:54

yeah. That's the interesting thing about industry. Sometimes it's, you know, it makes everything easier, more accessible, but at the same time, the artisanal side of it. languishes quite a bit, you know, there's, and I think that's also where I'm hoping because, you know, of course, there's AI art right now. And I'm hoping that because of all of these things that have become so automated, and so industrious, I guess, it might highlight also the importance of, you know, things that are handmade, you know, the artisanal craftsmanship of things, because I'm also seeing that even in Comic Con, right, and like conventions of like, all these comics and anime and stuff, there's actually been an uptick in people who prefer oil painted stuff than the graphics. Yeah, I've interviewed a couple people who, you know, they've made a comfortable living selling prints of their oil paintings or even their originals. So you never know, maybe the tides turn?

James Crandall: 1:06:56

Well, I, I do kind of think there's going to be a human reaction. Where just because we're human, are we kind of placed an extra value on things that are handmade, and that AI doesn't really press that button successfully, you know, might be a successful image. But when people know it's AI, and you can already kind of see that even on internet reactions. People say, Yeah, but that's AI, as if that means it's not something I value very much. If a person had did that I had done that image, I'd be impressed. But AI did it. So I'm not impressed at all. And so you might think that would extend to the purchase of, of original art to, whereas Yes, I can have a photograph, or I can have a photoshopped image, to take the wall, pick up the walls face. But I have a thing that a human being actually had to spend time making. You know, I think and I think, frankly, part of that is the buyer, they're buying a luxury item, you know, for decoration. Part of it is, you know, if they're a fluid person say, part of the status is a person had to put in a lot of hours to make that. And I can afford to pay him for those hours. And that's why it's on my wall. And that's why visitors to my home should be impressed. They would not be impressed. If I just printed out an AI image. That would not be impressive. or interesting. Yeah, I agree. I mean, some people maybe they like aI hard enough to do that. And that's fine. But as anything as with anything, any corner of art, there's always someone who prefers, you know, handmade. And we'll pay top dollar. I mean, if there are people out there who pay top dollar for a fine pair of shoes, right, they're handmade or fine purse or a fine dress. I'm sure there's someone out there who will definitely want to hang a beautiful handmade painting. Otherwise, yeah, I just can't predict, you know, what the what the draw what the line in the sand is? Yeah. You could also be another analogy could be a handmade furniture. Uh huh. If people were very would be very impressed if you could say, well, that chair was handmade. The guy who made it used only hand tools and he cut all those mortises and tendons. I know this because printmaking. It took them a long time, and it's beautiful. And look, you can see where that has tool marks on it from hand tools. And some people will go Oh, wow, that's fantastic. But from a consumer point of view is do I care enough to pay four times as much for that person who have made it with hand tools as opposed Who it'd be made? With machines? Right? Yeah, cuz it's kind. It's kind of they both are chairs. They look about the same. Yeah. Yeah, it depends if a person has a utilitarian perspective about buying things, you know, like, I just need a chair to sit on versus a person who wants, you know, something refined and maybe expresses themselves through how they decorate, then, I mean, I would be inclined to buy handmade chair personally, if I could, I would have to if I could afford it. Couldn't afford it? I would still need a chair.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:10:39

Yes, unfortunately.

James Crandall: 1:10:42

That is how it is. And the values of younger generations are not necessarily going to be mine. I'm sure they're not going to be.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:10:50

You never know. These new generations are? Oh, you're, oh, oh, no, I feel like I'm a 60 year old trap in the body of a younger person, trust me. So, I don't know. We'll see how it turns out. I mean, I'm personally the type of artists who also wants to collect beautiful work by painters that I admire. So you know, I wouldn't mind doing like swaps, for example, with with friends. I didn't actually hang them. So if that's, that's the wonderful part too.

James Crandall: 1:11:21

I do that, you know, especially when I contemplate my mortality. I know that whatever's left in my house, when I die is probably most of it will have to be thrown away. There's just so much of it. And so I'm very pleased if I can get a relative of friend friend to accept the gift. Because I think there's another message in a bottle, maybe it'll survive 100 years before someone throws it out, or it burns down your house. I at this point, I have artwork all over the world and all it's all over the country, and some of it will survive.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:12:01

Yeah, I mean, you know, it's like, I don't know if you know about the Leeton painting. What's it called flaming June. It was actually found by someone at a thrift store, like a flea market. They found it, they bought it for the price of the frame. And now it's in a museum because it's obviously it's, it's Lord Leeton. Like, for Christ's sake, big name. So you never know. You never know. Yeah,

James Crandall: 1:12:30

of course, that that runs in fashions, too. Yeah, it was we all know Sargent was incredibly popular during his lifetime. And then he really wasn't. And then he was again,

Laura Arango Baier: 1:12:41

same with Rembrandt. Yeah. And

James Crandall: 1:12:43

Vermeer pretty much forgotten until a critic historian decided he was being neglected and forced his rediscovery. Yeah. And, and, and what I didn't realize is that the Mona Lisa, the most famous painting in the world, nobody knew about it, really, except until it was stolen in the 20th century. And the story about recovering it was so intriguing to people. It made the painting famous. You can objectively say it's, it's a great painting. It's not that great. It's theirs. It's yeah, it's the story that goes with it. Yeah. Same. Same with Van Gogh, you know, he's an industry. But it's the story that makes, I mean, obviously, it's pretty unique and remarkable work. But the reason we know about him is because his brother's widow, made it her life's work, to, you know, get his paintings out there and be famous. Otherwise, he'd be gone. We wouldn't know about him.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:13:56

Yeah. Yeah,

James Crandall: 1:13:58

it's fascinating, you know, the, the, the hands of unseen people of the future who, you know, continue those legacies, you can't it's, it's out of everyone's control, fascinating. And there's no point worrying about it, because you'll be dead. essentialism and even if you're in an afterlife anymore, the last thing you're going to care about is when other people appreciate the payment you made while you're alive. Like you're not in anybody's cosmology. Does it matter that you're not treated better in heaven? Because people like your paintings doesn't? I don't think it works that way. Yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 1:14:38

it's you know, it is it is what it is. Oh, man, oh, James. Oh, as it's very fascinating to talk to you. Do you by any chance of any upcoming shows, projects, anything that you want to mention?

James Crandall: 1:14:59

Ah, I have, I don't, I'm still in three galleries and people can learn about that on my website. And they can, you know, get the address to my social media and YouTube. And I nag James crandall.com. Early on. So that's my domain name. At least remember, I hope I'm sending like painting to the oil paintings of America national that I'm pretty happy with. I'm a little embarrassed that I made it so big because it's gonna be a pain to ship. But I'm going to put a floater frame on it so it will fit in the box, the biggest box that FedEx will take. So there's that and I I don't know, you know, I'm like a lot of people, I'm still recovering from the COVID. And in my case, my health issues, to figure out what my place in the world is. And just sort of getting back up to speed. If anything, I'm trying to be braver about my art. I'm trying to do things with less thought about people whether people will like them or not.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:16:14

Yes, that's a great idea.

James Crandall: 1:16:15

I don't want to die never having really done. Yes, exactly what I wanted.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:16:23

Oh, exactly. I commend you for that. Yes.

James Crandall: 1:16:29

I wish I'd done it sooner. Yeah.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:16:33

But it's better that you're doing it now.

James Crandall: 1:16:36

I was a coward. I admitted. Oh,

Laura Arango Baier: 1:16:40

well, you're not you're not a coward anymore. You got this.

James Crandall: 1:16:44

Okay. These last few years.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:16:48

Well, thank you, James, for the very fascinating conversation. I really, really enjoyed it.

James Crandall: 1:16:54

Thank you, Laura. Been very nice talking with you before and during.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:16:59

Yes, absolutely.

The BoldBrush Show. Interviews with today's finest artists and creatives. Watch here or listen on all major podcast services.