Craig McClure – Arts Advocate, Curator and Creative

Craig McClure is a Scottish born, Hamilton-based artist and versatile creative, best known for his character infused, comic-like paintings that are influenced by science fiction, technology and overheard conversations. In recent years Craig’s creative practice has merged into multiple roles – as arts advocate at Creative Waikato, a curator and as an artist, Craig says each role benefits the other.

We caught up with Craig at Calder and Lawson Gallery where he curated ‘True True’, an exhibition pulled together from his list of clients and peers, followed by a visit to his home studio. Read on to discover how Craig juggles the academic underpinnings of curatorial and research work along with a productive studio practice and an arts advocacy career.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself – you hold a few roles at the moment, how do they support each other?

I hold a few different roles, the roles as an artist and a curator are made up of lots of other supporting jobs.  I have a network of clients as well as peers. Curation can be rewarding and exciting, and I’m contributing to the end goal of a great exhibition. The research and writing for curating are the same as my art practice and it’s so important to my creative research. Curation is a great way for me to inform my art practice.

My day job at Creative Waikato is gratifying and worthwhile. Within the role, our team cover a vast region and support creatives, and their endeavours. We’re there to help them create successful projects within their field. Support we give includes marketing, funding and strategic planning.

You have completed an honours year in Media Arts at Wintec, what’s the value of having a network of people around you during your study?

It’s massive, it’s the most important thing. In my opinion, that’s what I was paying for, in the end. The most value I got  from my study was in the experience of community and working together. Having a studio among all the other students – that was gold, it was so fun too.

In your Honours year you are spending a lot of time on one major project, how did your tutors support you during that time?

I felt like I was asking a lot from them sometimes, but I knew they had the answers.  They made themselves available to me and it was quality time that I spent with them. For a few hours at a time, they would sit down with me and talk through what I was doing. Having three advisers was amazing and provided me with direction during my project.

Would you use a lot of research and theory in your curatorial work?

Yes, it’s so important, I use research and theory as a curator, and also as an artist.

How has your education made an impact on your life?

Following an art career, or an art path of education, you leave with this amazing ability to see the world differently, which is powerful and rewarding. The fact that you can look at the most mundane thing and somehow pull meaning out of it, it’s a gift.

Following an art career, or an art path of education, you leave with this amazing ability to see the world differently.  

Is there anything you are working towards at the moment? Any new exhibitions or projects on the horizon? What are you looking forward to?

I am working towards one main exhibition this year in November at Zeus Gallery in Tauranga, join the mailing list to keep updated. It will almost be all new work, paintings and drawings and some new 3D models I am working on.

I am working on Boon Street Art Festival 2018 and activating vacant commercial spaces in the CBD of Hamilton with some artistic innovation or as startup platforms for creatives and working towards more opportunities in Auckland with Colours Collective.

Can you list for us 5 specific resources (across any media) you tune in to regularly?

  1. I use Instagram more than any other social media platform. It’s perfect for visual artists, and with good hashtagging, you can broaden your reach and connect with other like-minded creatives.
  2. I use Youtube and Netflix to watch docos and nonsense. It’s really convenient, to say the least. Also, I like to work with a melting pot of culture and history, and Youtube is perfect for this.
  3. I attend regular openings at local galleries including Ramp gallery on Wintec’s city campus,  Wallace Gallery in Morrinsville and Skinroom in Frankton. Signing up to newsletters or following spaces on Facebook is a good way to stay in the loop.
  4. I read lots of books. Right now I am reading the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins after reading his book The Greatest Show on Earth.
  5. Finally, I listen to podcasts and music in the studio or in the car. I drive a fair bit to Auckland for shows and work. I’m currently listening to Sam Harris’s Waking Up podcast series and Guardians of the Galaxy playlist on Spotify – best soundtrack in ages!

 

Thanks to Craig for being so generous with his time and for sharing his home studio with us. If you don’t already, be sure to follow Craig on Instagram and of course head to his website to see more of his work. 

If you’re thinking about taking your creative practice to the next level, you can browse through our Honours and Master of Arts postgraduate study programmes.