INTERVIEW: Craig Scott Knight  | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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This month Middlesbrough’s Pineapple Black Gallery will be exhibiting a selection of artists’ work from across the region who use the streets as their canvas and inspiration, including graffiti, paste-ups, tagging and street artists. One of the artists taking part is Stockton-based Craig Scott Knight, whose distinctive neo-pop art pieces have seen him exhibit alongside Banksy, Pure Evil, Dalek and Zero Gradient to name a few.

Craig’s journey to this current point has been a slow burn. Hailing from Indiana, USA he came to the UK as a child and went on to study Fine Art at Hull College gaining his BA(Hons) and added to that a PGCE in Fine Art from St Martins, Lancaster soon after. Life as an artist beckoned, but as he admits it wasn’t quite so easy. “I was into showing my work and did a few shows but there was a part of me that became a little disgruntled with the exhibitions, people who would like the work but there was a disconnect between the sales and their response.” He adds, “I think America was much more open to the sort of pop art I was creating, whereas English audiences weren’t, and I needed a steady job, so I took a job teaching.”

What followed was a very successful teaching career. As Craig moved up the education system hierarchy quickly, he found himself sought out by schools seeking to fix their failing art departments and he became the go-to person, turning schools and colleges around.

I like the work to have depth. For people to realise there are links to be made. Messages, meaning and stories held in the simplest things

After feeling the pull of creativity once again, he began his reintroduction to the art scene with smaller canvas works and drawings that captured the neo-pop art style he loved and began showing locally in the North East. The vibrancy of this work held fresh appeal, and before long gained the attentions of gallerists and dealers who exhibit and distribute his pieces internationally. Showing work at Off The Wall in Texas and larger canvases in the touring show Burner – featuring the aforementioned ‘big names’ in street art – alongside regional gallery outings is a rewarding balance.

No longer so eclectic but still set slightly apart from other ‘street artists’ in that he mainly creates gallery work on canvas, Craig Scott Knight now has places to showcase his painting. They draw from graphic novels and comics, characters and icons from pop art become remixed and recontextualised. Elaborating on this Craig adds: “I think I’m slightly different in my art with a more psychological approach. I like the work to have depth. For people to realise there are links to be made. Messages, meaning and stories held in the simplest things. To make connections. A sort of juxtaposing of things that comes about as I’m making the work; it’s not planned out, they evolve.”

The Pineapple Black show promises to be an exciting ‘takeover’ type of event, with all sorts of street and graffiti artists on display. Pay especially close attention to those large collage-like canvases of Craig’s as there’s much more to see if you look deeper!

Craig Scott Knight’s work features in an exhibition at Pineapple Black from Friday 19th May until mid-June.

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