Local Artist Feature: Craig McInnis

About the Artist

I have been drawing since I can remember. I decided early on that I would be an Artist. Music and art run through much of my family tree. I doodled my way through high school and then came to Florida to attend the Art Institute. After graduation I plunged into a varied list of artistic endeavors. Now, I am a freelance artist with a career balancing commercial and fine arts. My intent is to stay focused and to NEVER take my creative gifts for granted.

“All things creative” has been the credo that I live by when deciding what projects to take on. I enjoy keeping my workload diverse to help expand my skill set. I have had the opportunity to make music, record and tour, paint on many different surfaces, illustrate, log many fun hours on Photoshop, graphic design, create storyboard art and props for motion pictures, apprentice as a tattoo artist, and most recently work behind the scenes to curate, promote and produce art shows for my cohorts.

I am also a singer songwriter and enjoy playing solo acoustic gigs, the occasional duo gig (DUOVER) and with my band Raised by Wolves.

My most recent and ongoing projects are Northwood and downtown West Palm Beach mural projects, Founding partner of the non-profit Art Synergy partnering with Art Palm Beach, Art Director for The Event Group, Creative Director for Fright Nights at the South Florida Fairgrounds, Theme Set Designer for the South Florida Fair and Artist in Residence for the Lot 23 Program.

I teach Drawing Fundamentals and Acrylic Innovation for Lot 23. I enjoy the challenge of teaching all skill levels in two of my favorite mediums. Lot 23 is a West Palm Beach CRA program created to enrich Northwood and the surrounding neighborhoods. The community I live in is important to me and I am dedicated to giving back through sharing my creative gifts.

Recently I have also been hosting and participating in Live Painting exhibitions or “ART BATTLES” at Old Town Untapped. This is a monthly event also organized by RMA in the budding art district in Pompano surrounding Bailey Contemporary Arts.

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After reading Craig’s bio, we decided to ask a few more questions to get a deeper insight into his work…

We’d love to hear a little bit more about your music and your band. What style of music do you play, how did you come up with your band name, etc.? Anything you want to share would be great.

I am presently not in a touring band though I did tour throughout my 20’s. Raised By Wolves is an extension of my solo work as a singer/songwriter. The name comes from my dedication to being tenacious and passionate about what I am trying to achieve through my creative outlets. Wolves are focused and powerful but also look out for the greater good… hence the name fit my outlook on life and art. I was also a founding member of local funk/soul/ hop-hop act Speaking Volumes; we were blessed to play SUNFEST twice and in my younger years I fronted touring Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band GONEMAD. Music runs in my family as far back as one can see.

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You mentioned on your website that you’re a bit of a “Halloween freak,” and I see that you’re involved in Fright Nights at the South Florida Fairgrounds. How did you get into this and how much of your art is influenced by Halloween as inspiration?

My early art was very dark and twisted; I still have an affinity for the bizarre and edgy. It is part of my personality and I thrive on finding weird places to go creatively. Working a Halloween event is a great fit! In ’02 I started out by being invited to do set painting for two friends that were entrenched in the business. I slowly transitioned to set designing and eventually developed my own characters and then a Haunted House. This blossomed into running all three haunted houses at the Fairgrounds with my business partner. We basically worked our way up from Scare Actors and labor to Creative Director and Ops where we sit today. I MUST get in character and scare folks though… it is still my favorite part!

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How do you prepare for an Art Battle, do you know what you’re going to do going into it? Does it change depending on the environment once you get to Old Town? Would love to hear a little bit about the process, if it is more pressure filled or more liberating, etc. 

Usually I try not to plan ahead in order to keep things organic and to truly challenge myself. Sometimes this produces great work other times I miss the mark. But that is ART! If there is a specific theme I may do some sketches to find a direction. I really enjoy painting live and interacting with patrons as I create. The vibe from the other artists helps to inspire as well. I have been painting in front of others for as long as I can remember.

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It seems like you’ve got a lot on your plate, how do you balance it all? 

I am extremely busy but I am blessed to have a solid freelance career. I am dedicated to the hustle. It is truly challenging to survive on creative endeavors alone but footwork/networking is what keeps it going. I am always making moves to further my career. Each stumbling block has provided me an opportunity to grow and learn and become more resilient leading me to the specific mind set and focus that makes it possible to continue as a Freelancer. I never know where the next job is coming from or IF it is even coming. All I can do is move forward, create and follow my instincts.

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Check out Craig’s artwork at the Lot 23 studio at ArtNight Out, April 29th in Northwood Village.

To learn more about Craig, or for information on his other exhibitions, please visit his websites or social media pages, included below:

CraigMcInnis.com:
http://craigmcinnis.com/

Facebook art page:
https://www.facebook.com/Craigartist/

Fright Nights:
https://www.facebook.com/FrightnightsSFF/

Reverbnation music videos:
https://www.reverbnation.com/artist/artist_videos/4852514