In 2005 I was working at a record store in Seattle. I had been working retail ever since I dropped out of art school in the mid-nineties and after a decade of working to pay back that one year of college I was dreaming of an escape. I pretty much lived exclusively for the nightly retreats to my decrepit drafting table where I was free to spend hours hiding away in a vivid watercolor washed world surrounded by the warmth and comfort of my unusual creations. After years of existing like this I eventually gained the courage to take a chance and quit my day job to pursue my art full-time. Obsolete world is a name that was originally taken from the 1961 Twilight Zone episode “The Obsolete Man” where in a future totalitarian state, Burgess Meredith’s character (a librarian) is a man put on trial for the crime of being obsolete. I had always loved that episode and I pictured a similar scenario in which the make-believe creatures of childhood suffer a similar “crime” as one grows old. I took to the task of conserving these victims of consequence and created “Obsolete World” as a place where my own creations could safely while away the hours.
-Jeannie L Paske
Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Craig LaRotonda received his BFA in 1992 at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he studied with the internationally renowned illustrator Alan Cober. Currently working as a professional painter, illustrator, and sculptor, Craig divides his time between each endeavor.
LaRotonda's richly layered paintings are provocative; his signature iconic style is reminiscent of Renaissance and Byzantine art while remaining boldly contemporary. His work possesses a dark narrative and grotesque elegance. These distorted creatures are captured in a timeless space — surviving the brutality and beauty of existence. Craig's ability to make deformities and oddities become aesthetically magnificent is what makes his art so unique.
His paintings and sculptures incorporate mixed media and aging techniques, ultimately creating surreal figurative works. LaRotonda's artwork graces the walls of famous homes including collectors in France, Germany, Norway, Mexico, Canada, and the United States.
Through his relationship with Film Art LA, his acclaimed art appears prominently in television and five feature-length motion pictures - including the Academy Award winning film "Traffic" directed by Steven Soderbergh, and "The Other Guys" with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg.
LaRotonda's striking and unique art has been featured in Time Magazine, The Washington Post, The Village Voice, Juxtapoz, The New York Times and numerous other publications. This commercial work has received awards from the Society of Illustrators (in New York and Los Angeles), Communication Arts and Print Magazine.
Exhibitions include solo shows in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, and Paris. Craig also exhibits regularly in group shows nationally and abroad.
Lee Harvey Roswell is a self-taught artist from Freefall, New York, whose work is noted for its blend of angst and humor. Themes of death and entropy, tribulation and futility run amok in his distinctly surreal, often-slapstick/ often-nightmarish world. The result is at once mocking and melancholic. For the past decade plus his attention has turned almost exclusively to oil painting, though it's always a surprise what direction he'll steer things next. Lee now lives in San Francisco, and his work is shown, collected and published internationally.