BETWEEN THE LINES. American painter Micah Crandall-Bear chats with DA MAN about abstract art and his recent projects
Micah Crandall-Bear was one of the painters participating at Art Stage Jakarta a couple of months ago. He is mostly known for abstract landscape paintings that speak of horizons and equilibrium despite depicting places that aren’t real. Back in his hometown in Sacramento, California, he also became one of a few leaders pushing the Sacramento art community to recognize and support abstract art.
DAMAN: What was your first memorable encounter with the world of art?
Micah Crandall-Bear: I remember when I was a kid, my mom drew me a clown on a coloring book, and that’s really good. And I told to myself: “Next, I have to do it better than my mom.” That’s my earliest memory. But the most substantial shifts, I think, was when I was 16 or 17 years old. My dad took my younger brother and me to Europe. We went to the Vatican and as I walked into the Sistine Chapel and looked up, I felt amazed. That was the substantial shift for me. That’s like a Mecca. The Art Mecca, if you will.
DAMAN: What would be thebest way to describe you? Artist or a painter?
Micah Crandall-Bear: I’ve always called myself a painter. Sometimes, maybe I think artist would be more appropriate, but there’s something unique and special about calling yourself a painter.
DAMAN: A couple of months ago, you brought your abstract landscape paintings for D Gallerie to Art Stage Jakarta. What are your impressions of this art fair?
Micah Crandall-Bear: It was pretty amazing and I didn’t know what to expect. I think it was my first time to Jakarta. Everyone was so accepting and kind. I feel like everyone was very curious about new things. I’ve done a few art fairs in the past, like in Miami and others, and so I think they definitely have some similarities. But, it was something new and exciting. So, yeah … it’s safe to say that this is my new favorite art fair.
DAMAN: Among all of the types of visual art, why abstract?
Micah Crandall-Bear: Why? Because it’s not only about what you’re looking at, but why you’re seeing it in a certain way. From there, I can start a dialogue with color and emotion and depth of field. So, I think color field in an abstract world is a very open format to allow people to see it, from where they might be at in their lives— whether it’s from a place of love, a place of tragedy and hopefully a place of honesty. We can familiarize ourselves with that right away.
DAMAN: What projects are you working on right now?
Micah Crandall-Bear: I’m currently preparing for Art Stage Singapore, which is in January. That’s my most immediate one. I’m focused on art fairs right now. I’ve always been curious about that world and it’s exciting to finally be in it. I’m focusing on a few shows because they are new to me.