I have spent the majority of my life in the arts: going to museums and galleries, working in galleries and as a studio assistant, writing criticism, attending art fairs, active in publishing an art & fashion magazine, teaching art history, etc.
And while I have actually made art my entire life, it is only relatively recently (the past ten years or so) that I have come out of the "art closet" and called myself an artist without apology. I paint, create installations and do performance work in sacred clowning. I teach this work as well as create it for myself. I hope to do large scale public sculpture at some point in the future.
I work in many media and in several different styles, including decorative, pop, primitive, conceptual and fine art. Take your pick. My feeling is that everyone deserves to have great art in their lives - and better yet, they should learn to make some and get an even better sense of what makes great art so invaluable.
Art brings our hearts and souls alive to the beauties of this world, beauty that is literally in front of us every moment of the day. We just need to open our eyes - both inner and outer - to see it.
My first big forays in painting occurred in the early '80s, and were very influenced by the neo-expressive movement of the East Village in NYC. I did some street art with my husband Cary Hart, and other media as well. I went through another big spate of painting in the mid '90s, and then finally really kicked into gear around 2000 or so, when I studied landscape oil painting with Margot Lennartz. I have been painting ever since.
These days I am far more likely to use my non-dominant (left) hand than not. I learned about this technique from Dr. Lucia Capacchione, and it opened up a whole world of expressive possibilities and freed me to get outside of my head and into my body.
The SuperBrattyFlowerPower series began as a group of 100 paintings and quickly overflowed into studies for large scale sculpture and installation. The Brats are from another dimension, (which may or may not be virtual), and they are on a mission to learn what it is to be human.
The Surfing Angels series from 2017 explores the idea that angels are everywhere around us - if we only had eyes to see. And of course they love the beach! I made a trailer.
Drawing on my teacher training in Baby Clown, plus many years of tai chi, qi gong and ecstatic dance, I teach a movement class called Crazy Wisdom or Kachina Clown.
Crazy Wisdom is a Buddhist term that refers to the tradition of the Holy Fool. It's about getting to the juicy stuff and not worrying about what you look like - just having the courage and the heart to "show up" and not "show off."
I have created a number of characters (Kachinas) for special occasions. Here is the Fairy Godmother of the North. With her Bronx accent and her nineteen breasts, she is an updated tribute to Artemis of Ephesus, a form of the ancient mother goddess.
I am fascinated by early representations of the feminine as Clown in both ancient Greece and ancient Japan. In both cultures, it is an obscene gesture by a middle aged woman that restores the world to balance. For the ancient Greeks, the figure of Baubo lures Demeter out of her despair with her sly joke at the well, whereas in Japan the kami known as Uzume is able to cajole Ameratsu out of her cave so that the Earth may flourish once more. Today seems ripe for more such gestures!
My mother was a graphic designer and I spent my life surrounded by talented folks who were adept at making images of many sorts. I myself have several distinctive styles of image production.
The truck above was a finalist in a design competition for garbage trucks in Yonkers, NJ. I used the SuperBrattyFlowerPower theme as well as iconography drawn from sea life that flourishes along the Hudson River.
I have designed book covers, wine event posters, logos, and more.
My interest in interactive installations began while I was still an undergraduate at Barnard. I designed some elaborate viewer activated works, analogue let me stress, one of which was "The Mother of Invention" from 1984. The viewer would approach the box, don a pair of headphones, place their hands in giant electricians gloves as if in a bio-hazard containment unit, and follow instructions that it was "OK to pick up the baby." As soon as the viewer picked up the baby doll, lights came on, the television sparked to life and various other elements kicked in, along with an ominous soundtrack that commanded the viewer to "Put that baby DOWN!". It was a part of 'The 1984 Show' at Kamikaze. My collaborators were Cary Hart and Keith deMary. In retrospect these works were anticipating the blending of various types of digital streams common today.
T.C.W.F. (Tobey Crockett's Wild Frontier) 1999 - 2007 is my virtual world which I began as a self portrait. I created a mini documentary to give an idea of what is possible once we get away from the constraints of photorealism as an aesthetic to be applied in cyberspace. I have written extensively about why this is an outdated approach to new media, and how the our current media production is parallel to the period of Academic painting in the 19th century, just before Impressionism and other forms opened the floodgates of modernism. We are sure to see far more personal, subjective and dreamlike work in virtual media in the very near future.
Copyright © 2018 Tobey Crockett - All Rights Reserved.