All the Pieces
Artist Profile — Craig Anczelowitz
I just met an artist who has it all. Creative vision, practical knowhow, business-sense,
And Bronx native Craig Anczelowitz’s resume is like a how-to for the successful, self-sufficient artist/designer:
- M.F.A.: Check.
- Work your way up in a specialty New York boutique: Check.
- Traverse the globe, buy and design for retail tastemakers: Check. Check.
- Leave it all. Move to a faraway land; design and produce multiple product lines:
Back in 1991, Masters in Printmaking/Papermaking in hand, Craig embarked on his
“I started with mixed media artwork created from papers mixed with a wide range of materials mostly salvaged from NYC dumpsters,” said Craig. “Joseph Cornell was and remains my biggest creative influence – his dreamlike yet scholarly assemblages always appealed to both sides of my personality.”
Craig began to learn the business of art. “I had worked at Kate’s Paperie for 5 yeas, eventually becoming their paper buyer and NYC’s first unofficial ‘paper guru’,” he said.
It seemed this art thing might actually pay his bills.
“When the owners of Kate’s Paperie had asked me to develop branded collections of stationery, papers and notebooks with a number of overseas and domestic manufacturers, I thought that this was what I wanted to do full-time and felt that it may be the first step to a more creative livelihood.”
Victorian Mod Vases
“Through these jobs, I was able to travel the world and work with artisans to design and develop a wide range of products such as Murano Glass, Florentine Leather, Thai ceramics, Indian brass work and Japanese stationery,” said Craig.
Some of Craig’s mango wood stools.
Nowadays, Craig is the rare artist that can create top-notch work in multiple mediums:
- and Textiles
“I enjoy the diversity and challenges of working in many materials and have been fortunate that my prior jobs afforded me the opportunity to work in so many different and interesting mediums,” he said.
Craig’s adopted home provides ample inspiration for his creative projects.
“I am lucky to live in such an amazing place as Thailand,” he said.
“With its abundant natural resources and extremely rich visual culture, I can be inspired every day by simply walking out my door.
“Travel is also a great source of inspiration and since I am working on many diverse projects, I need to be a sponge and soak up inspiration everywhere.
“Ideas and designs evolve from all over the place: From broken shells on a beach to the patchworked pleats of Hilltribal women’s skirts…or from the flea markets of Paris to the tropical gardens of Thailand.”
Then it’s a matter of focus. “Channeling that wealth of inspiration and stimuli into creative design is the challenge,” Craig said.
How does he know when he’s got a terrific design going?
“When I sense that I may be onto a great idea or am excited about a particular piece, I often visualize in my mind’s eye or dream a huge jigsaw puzzle that sort of just completes itself with all the pieces calmly floating into place,” Craig said.
Craig is a prolific designer, and needs a team to bring much of his work to fruition.
“I design the pieces myself but since my plate has become quite full, I most definitely need the assistance of another designer to help realize the work – and to meet deadlines,” he exclaimed.
“I currently work with 6 different factories in Thailand and Japan who manufacture my work and about seventy-five percent is then incorporated into their product lines.”
And he’s ready with this advice for the aspiring artist:
“Fantastic! Just understand that being an artist is more than just making your art. Even the best artists have to be businesspeople and know how to market/promote themselves to the public or to others in the industry.
The great thing is that now with so many opportunities online, this has become a lot easier than in the past and perhaps more artists and designers are making a living from their work than ever before.
Art is life!”
Did I mention he looks like a rock star?
Want to see more of Craig’s work? He maintains a great photo record on his Flickr photostream.
It’s best to track him down through Flickr.
Do you design and create in multiple mediums? Do you favor one?