After using the outdoors as a canvas for more than 20 years, Craig Whitten’s love of nature moved inside.
With a landscape architecture degree from Purdue University, the Lafayette native started his career by using plants, earth and structures to create inviting outdoor environments in Southern California and Chicago, before returning to Lafayette.
“I wanted to raise my family in my hometown, rather than larger cities,” Craig says. “Experiencing those places, I initially thought were ‘better,’ I quickly learned Indiana was the best place for me. We decided to come home and just see what would happen.”
Still keeping his art outside, Craig began designing Lafayette landscapes and launched his own business in 1996. Then his canvas began to change.
“Being an ‘old school’ landscape architect, I insisted on hand-drawing my design work. I felt it appealed far more to my residential clientele,” he says.
He enjoyed the time sketching, watercoloring and rendering landscape plans so much that this artistic side of the business became the full-time occupation it is today.
Craig closed his design business in 2013, deciding to pursue art full-time.
“Everything I do with my art reflects something that has touched me at some point, be it from a standpoint of pure awe at what nature shows us, or something I found comical,” he says. “It all comes from a place of an emotional experience.”
He uses the word “spontaneity” in conversation about nature, art and the way he views both.
“The spontaneity of watercolor is a perfect correlation to the spontaneity of nature to me,” he says. “There is a synergy in my work that’s borne of that unpredictability. Sometimes I explore this directly in the abstracts I create, and other times it might show up in the way I group the subjects of a painting.”
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