Oct 19, 2015

Conventions, releases and available works

Slowly but surely I am getting back to work after taking 3 months to recover from double jaw surgery If you are curious about all of the specifics about the surgery I have been keeping a blog on the subject: lanasfaceoff.blogspot.com

New Site!
You may notice lanacrooks.com looks a little different… besides a long over due update I have changed some things around. Larger thumbnails, newer work is now highlighted (older works are now in the "archive", and it is finally mobile responsive. I was a fan of the old layout but I had to get with the times and the smart phone won in the end. I have a few more pieces to edit and add but all in all its ready for visitors.

I was unable to attend this year's NYCC and Designer Toy Award ceremony but I did recieve some great news from the event! Gary Ham and I are the recipients of another DTA! Best Non-Plastic goes to the Sylvan Plush!!!

He's a little shy…
I am super shocked by this award and am completely appreciative to be receiving it! This was a handmade edition of 10 pieces and in the next month or so I will release the very last of the run.

Later this month I will be headed to Illuxcon in PA! Since I am now cleared to fly I thought it would be a great first outing. I know many artists that participate in this imaginative realism convention / art show and this will be my first time attending. My work will be represented at the Everyday Original booth (www.everydayoriginal.com)

DesignerCon is also fast approaching (Nov 21 & 22) and I again will be there, sharing a booth with Scott Tolleson! I am unsure what I will have on hand this year but will post specifics as the event gets closer.

Available Works:
If you are in the market for an original sculpture please check these locations:

Here I release smaller originals on an almost bi-monthly basis. Check my instagram (@lanacrooks) for specifics on each release.

Stranger Factory / Circus Posterus
There is still a handful of works from my Mourning Apparitions exhibit (with Kathie Olivas and Michele Lynch)

Now to get back to work!

Jul 8, 2015

Mourning Apparitions: Now Showing at Stranger Factory!

Mourning Apparitions opened this past weekend at Stranger Factory in Albuquerque! For the month of July I get to haunt the gallery space with Kathie Olivas and Michele Lynch.
I thought I would take this opportunity to go over my process for this exhibition and explain how ghosts became the theme.

Stage One: Inspiration
I usually start by making lists. I love lists. I love scratching things off of lists more. But this is a hunt for ideas. Word brainstorms that work in tandem with music. I listen to a lot of music when I work and I try to create playlists that fit the general mood.

For this exhibit I had a few songs left over from Adventure Awaits (April 2014 exhibit at Clutter) that I kept re-listening to. One was Lord Huron's "The Ghost on The Shore".

The lyrics floated around my head for a while:
I'm just a man, but I know that I'm damned
All the dead seem to know where I am
All who sail off the coast ever more
Will remember the tale of the ghost on the shore

I started assembling a playlist that gave me the same vibe as that song. At the time winter was in full swing, everything was icy and white and had been that way for a few months. The perfect setting for a haunting soundtrack. (You can find the full soundtrack on Spotify: Playlist called Ghosts under Lana Crooks Direct Link )

Once I have that started I pop in some headphones and head to the museum. Find some specimens, make more lists, watch some movies, get the brain moving.

Stage Two: Organization
By now I have lists….LOTS of lists. Lists for colors, words, titles, elements, common themes. I start grouping things that stand out or brings an immediate image to my brain. I expand on the words or phrases that work best together to get more of an image. I take specimen names and file them away for later, continue building that playlist and begin a series of tiny doodles. Basically becoming a shut in…

Stage Three: Research

I do a lot of research when making my pieces. It's my favorite part, makes me feel like Im uncovering mysteries. It's as close to my childhood dream career of archaeology as I will get. I have access to a fabulous specimen lab and use it as much as possible. 
Taking measurements, photos, notes, draw patterns and collect pantones (for later fabric and dye matching). This process usually spurs new ideas…and yes, I listen to my playlist the whole time! Who knows what specimen will call out in a way I didnt see before when paired with the right music.

Stage Four: Limbo
I actually spend a lot of this time fiddling around on pinterest. Look for more color inspiration, putz with the patterns I drew at the labs, general busy computer works.  I decide on an over arching scheme, each piece will have its own thing going on but hopefully relates to a bigger picture. This is where the ghosts really haunted my studio.

Stage Five: Hunt and Gather
I begin to pull materials for the first few pieces. I scour antique stores for any elements that want to fit. Order fabrics, organize the things I already own and "get my arse in gear"

Stage Six: CreateI am not saying that all the other steps aren't work but this is where you just do it already. All the research and time spent playing around with materials lead to this. Prop up the sketch book, organize the desk, and turn up the music…this may take a while. Each piece leads to the next and things begin to take shape. Lots of hand sewing, cutting, adding small details, drawing new details, starting over, doing it again, waiting for dye to dry, making all the pieces talk to each other, and getting very little sleep.

Stage Seven: Completion

I have now gone thru some 12 step action (denial, anger, ect…) but those pieces are now done! The work has it's soul, its ready to move on. I give it a name, take its photograph and send it out to live a new life. It's both exciting and sad but now its time to start again. Below are some of my offerings for Mourning Apparitions, the full exhibit can be found on the Stranger Factory website (currently under "Now Showing"): www.strangerfactory.com

Bleeding Heart
Apparition: The Song
Apparition: The Escape
Mourning Dove No. 4

Stage Eight: The Lost Stage….or prepping for the opening

Most of my involvement usually ends after I send the piece into the world. Sometimes I go to work the opening and hang the show with the gallery. I had the opportunity to head out for this one. Kathie and I  installed all the pieces and made all the pieces look their best for opening night. If you have not had much contact with a gallery, they are a lot of work. Openings don't just happen. I am always glad to help out for exhibits, it is rewarding to see all the work together as a collection. Images from opening night are coming soon!

Thank you to everyone at Stranger Factory for having me! Thank you to all who came out to the opening, to those who have ever picked up a piece, asked for a sketch, liked my progress, followed my work and who have enjoyed what I do. I could not have done it without the support.

Jul 1, 2015

Mourning Apparitions

Stranger Factory is excited to announce our July exhibit, Mourning Apparitions. With new works from Kathie Olivas, Lana Crooks, and Michele Lynch, the exhibition will embody ghostly projections through expressions of longing, loss, and grief as well as the playful nature of the spirits that stay behind

The opening reception is Friday, July 3rd from 6 – 9 pm at Stranger Factory. Kathie Olivas and Lana crooks will be in attendance. The Mourning Apparitions exhibition will be on display until August 2nd.

Stranger Factory is located at 3411 Central Avenue NE Albuquerque, NM 87106 (505-508-3049). There is a sign up for the preview list at www.strangerfactory.com

Apparition: The Haunted
Photo by Zoë Bare
Chicago-based, Lana Crooks, is best known for her soft specimen-style sculpture. For Crooks, Mourning Apparitions is an opportunity to honor the realm of ghostly apparitions which pair well with her iconic, vintage style. For the exhibition Lana has created 22 one-of-a-kind textile sculptures, elegantly displayed in shadow boxes, miniature museum cases, and bell jars. 

The Lovers
Photo by Zoë Bare

May 18, 2015

Last chance to get some GUTS!

This week is your last chance to pick up pieces from Guts at Light Grey Art Labs! I had the honor of joining the show as the featured artist and created a wall of faux specimens, complete with vinyl wallpaper. It was a fantastic opening and I had so much fun visiting. I also stuck around after the exhibit to participate in the Gallery's weekly podcast! If you want to here me chat it up for an hour follow this link: Podcast: Talking with Lana Crooks

Half of my work sold at the opening but (until the 22nd) remaining pieces can be found here: http://shop.lightgreyartlab.com

If you would like to see images of the opening and my installation, Light Grey has a lot up on their Flickr!

Apr 17, 2015

Guts! at Light Grey Art Lab

This Friday, April 17th, join Lana Crooks at Light Grey Art Lab in Minneapolis! She is here to chat about skeletons, exhibit a number of wool specimens and eat some insane doughnuts!

Guts features new work by 60+ artists from around the world. Artists have made a variety of fiber sculptures, hand-sewn details, intricate illustrations, and paintings that share the truths, uncovered mysteries, and fabricated stories behind some of life's greatest questions!

This week, we have been working with guest artist, Lana Crooks, to install her 15ft wall installation filled with tiny treasures, hand felted skulls, and sculptured curiosities! You can see some of Lana's progress and sneak peek's on the blog here: http://blog.lightgreyartlab.com

Mar 3, 2015

Zealot's Elixir and When Hell Freezes Over

I almost can't believe it is March already. In February I participated in two exhibits (one on either coast) but with the beginning of March brings the closing of these shows. If you have been meaning to make it out to either, step to it, they close VERY soon. They are both available to view online as well!

The Zealot's Elixir -  Modern Eden Gallery, CA - Curated by Doubleparlour 

I love doing sculpture exhibits! There are always such amazing artists involved and this show was a blast! For this exhibit I created my most detailed and largest skeleton to date: Snake oil

This Snake is a 21" long skeleton made up of 450 individual and delicate pieces of wool, coiled around an antique druggist bottle surrounded by sculpted ballast and a handwritten perscription from 1896. 

For more information about the exhibit, to read an interview with the curators and to see images from the opening visit: http://www.moderneden.com/pages/zealots-elixir

When Hell Freezes Over II - myplasticheart - NY - curated by Lou Pimentel

I dont often get to participate in a lot of custom shows, so of course I couldnt say no to Lou. All the artists were asked to give new life to Lou's Junior vinyl… I gave it a new skeleton: Little Devil

Check out the exhibit here: myplasticheart.com

Jan 16, 2015

In the shop!

This just in: New pieces just posted to the shop! Everything ships out Monday.

Finch under Glass: 5 pieces available at this time

Sylvan by Lana Crooks and Gary Ham
The very last 5 in this run of 10