“Sharp social commentary illustrated through a deeply religious and psychological symbolism” (Lyall Watson, Woodstock Gallery, London, 1979)
AS Craig was born in 1917 in Coatbridge, Scotland and left school at fourteen years of age. His working life was varied and included periods as a labourer, Glasgow tram driver, meter reader and factory worker. From the age of 50, ill health prevented him from working.
It was in 1968, at the age of 52 and 16 years after leaving Scotland for Caerffili, south Wales, that AS Craig began to study the work of artist-painters and to experiment with oil painting and his subject matter. He taught himself to draw and paint, and cited three artist-painters in particular as formative influences on his work: Rene Magritte, Salvador Dali and Giorgio di Chirico. Those influences are evident in his paintings but the themes, images and composition are uniquely his.
His first painting was completed in 1970. He did not paint after 1980 and died in 1985, aged 69. The paintings of the 1970-73 period were completed whilst he was living in Caerffili. All the others were completed whilst he was living in Cefn Hengoed, the place of his death.
The paintings that feature on this website have been hidden from view since 1980, stored in the attic of a relative. Most of them display a haunting surreal irrationality fused with sharp social, and anti-religious, statement. Others, more rational but still challenging, are records of an impoverished childhood in a Scottish slum tenement of the 1920s. His work is held by the Arts Council of Wales in its permanent collection.
In the 1970s AS Craig exhibited at:
- Woodstock Gallery, London
- Oriel (Welsh Arts Council), Cardiff
- Coexistence Gallery, Bath
- Galerie Convergence, Nantes
“Surrealist elements are set in an ever more realistic everyday life that brings a new power, inviting us to appreciate the incongruent realities of everyday existence” (Judy Ling Wong, Woodstock Gallery, London, 1977)