Artist Statement

Unlike windows that painters were once advised to emulate with their own frames, these constructions are more like doors through which one can pass to enter the landscapes they contain.
Arnold Berleant,Prof. of Aesthetics, C.W.Post College, ret.
Introduction, catalogue for City Visions exhibition,
QCC Gallery, CU.N.Y., 1988

Carol Crawford is quoted in the May 2012 issue of Boro Magazine on the flourishing arts community in Long Island City, Queens.

It was a brilliant, sunny day at 40,000 feet over Colorado when I looked down, out of the airplane's window, and saw, with new insight, the transparent layers of cloud formations, each scudding in its own direction and pattern across the undulating earth below.  I began to make tiny sketches on a cocktail could I capture what I saw and communicate its depth and complexity as a work of art?

  • Click on thumbnails to view enlarged images of Crawford's working concepts.

Layers.  Depth.  It had to be in three dimensions, not two.

From that moment on, my focus has been on re-casting the three-dimensional world as visual metaphor, using the recognizable physicality of it as a starting point, then penetrating into it layer-by-layer to distill iconic images.  

The life-sized figurative drawings I had been doing at the time became ripped out of frame and context to float on walls, encased in Plexiglas forms that cast their own shadows.  They shared in the same environmental phenomena as their viewers, often appearing to move as the viewer passed by and turned to look at them.  I begin to build out my two-dimensional images into the three dimensional world.  Instead of trapping a moment in past time, the works shared the moment in real time.

Frames became containers, painted on all surfaces, extending the photo image within into artist-controlled space; small constructions grew into entire environments in which dancers and actors moved.

I began to use a wide variety of materials, choosing whatever best conveyed the metaphor I wanted to develop: thermoplastic, metal mesh, aircraft aluminum, wood, acrylics.  Every medium became an option: photography, paint, monoprint, engraving, projections, sound, movement.  With the support of numerous grants, I’ve collaborated with actors, musicians and dancers to create original theater pieces; my sculptural work grew into life-size installations.

My creative work and public art projects have been shown in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums in the U.S., Canada, Japan and Europe. I am currently represented by Atlantic Gallery ( in Manhattan.


My work as an artist draws upon my broad background in documentary photography, filmmaking, printmaking, and theater set design. It is also enriched by my training and experience as an interior and environmental designer, and as an art historian.

After earning a B.F.A. in painting from the University of Buffalo, I was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship that enabled me to undertake a Master’s degree in art history at Columbia University. I was drawn to the art of small tribal cultures , particularly in Africa, that thrived without a written language. These richly diverse, regional societies were perfect laboratories for gaining insight into how ideas can be transmitted through a purely visual language. These studies not only deepened my understanding of symbolic form, but strengthened my passion for teaching.

When I resumed studio work, I undertook a series of lithography workshops at the Pratt Graphics Art Center and the Bob Blackburn Studios in Manhattan, and began to explore, through printmaking, ways of combining graphics with transparent layers of color and form.

Moving to the San Francisco Bay area, I set up a printmaking studio, taught lithography at Stanford University, art history and design at Foothill College, and joined a gallery. When I returned to New York City four years later, my teaching career continued at Queens College, then at Queensborough Community College, where I also became Acting Director of the QCC Gallery. I joined Viridian Gallery in Manhattan and became an active arts advocate, helping to establish the first artist-run gallery in Queens, and becoming a Board Member of LICArtists, Inc.  My new studio was part of LICArtlofts, Inc, one of the earliest factory-loft studio complexes in Long Island City.

Environmental Design

Since 1999, I have been a faculty member of the Interior Design Department at Pratt Institute, where I received a Master of Science degree in interior design in 1995, and where I currently teach both graduate and undergraduate courses in color, materials, and sustainable design.  In 1997 I established my own design firm, CAROL CRAWFORD ENVIRONMENTS, inc. , and became a Licensed New York State Interior Designer as well as a LEED Accredited Professional. My firm specializes in sustainable interior design, planning and murals.

I continue to combine my design and teaching with my work as a fine artist.

Carol Crawford 2012   •   All Rights Reserved   •   Site By