William Crutchfield

Artist Biography:
William Crutchfield is an American visual artist born in 1932 in Indianapolis, IN. Called the “master of critical and satirical drawing,” Crutchfield works with drawing and printmaking to create energetic commentary Crutchfield received his BFA in 1956 from the Herron School of Art, Indianapolis and his MFA in New Orleans in 1960. He now lives and works in San Pedro, California. He has many works in public and private collections here and abroad including the Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale where he has been featured in multiple solo shows. Beneath William Crutchfield’s whimsical subject matter and exquisite draftsmanship often lies a satirical commentary on humanity. The San Pedro-based artist uses a variety of media such as sculpture, painting and prints to harness his imagination, but he considers drawing the fundamental core to all of these pursuits. This emphasis on drawing was a natural fit for printmaking, and Crutchfield worked at both Gemini and Tamarind, beginning in the 1960s. Willliam Crutchfield worked with Kenneth Tyler at both Gemini GEL and Tyler Graphics to create a large body of prints, as well as a series of cast bronze multiples. Crutchfield created sculptural forms out of a series of numbers and the word “FLY.” Both Crutchfield and his wife, Barbara, are also responsible for a significant amount of the candid photography taken at the Tyler studios. Much of this work is held in the National Gallery’s Kenneth Tyler Archive Collection. Crutchfield completed several print series at Gemini in the 1960s informed by the natural world and transportation technology. Air Land Sea, a suite of 13 lithographs, was completed during his second visit as a guest artist at Tamarind (his first visit in 1963 yielded only one print, but he had since made two important series at Gemini in 1966). In the portfolio, Crutchfield employed his characteristic style by using tusche applied with a pen to create the inventive subject matter. The artist then had the printer apply various colors of ink to one roller to create the blended effect of the palette. Crutchfield’s interest in the relationship between man and machine was particularly suited to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s significant but controversial Art and Technology exhibition, held in 1971; Crutchfield produced its screenprinted poster and several illustrations for the catalogue. "For me, humor in art is the most important humanizing quality," said William Crutchfield. His whimsically robotic Mr. No is the sort of childlike image that Crutchfield began making in 1960 while on a Fulbright scholarship to Germany where, 50 years earlier, Paul Klee had produced similarly delightful whimsies. Mr. No was the only lithograph produced at Tamarind by Crutchfield in 1963. It was printed by Ken Tyler, who had known Crutchfield as a drawing instructor at the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis the year before. The following is a chronological summary of Crutchfield's artistic life: 1932 Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States of America 1956 Receives Bachelor of Fine Arts from Herron School of Art, Indianapolis 1960 Receives Masters of Fine Arts from Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana 1961 Receives Fulbright Scholarship for study at State Art Academy, Hamburg, West Germany 1956 First solo exhibition, at Lieber Gallery, Indianapolis 1962–65 Teaches drawing, painting, and design at Herron School of Art, Indianapolis 1965–67 Assistant Professor and Chairman of Foundation Studies at Minneapolis School of Art; completes edition of Buffalo heads at Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles, California (1966) 1967 Moves to California; completes editions of Tawny owl at Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles as well as the Vista series (including At the falls, Burning mining town, Clipper ship, Train on bridge) and the Americana Suite (including Clipper ship, Covered wagons, Fire engine, Model T Ford, Narrow gauge train, Old Jenny, Riverboat, Stage coach) Los Angeles 1969 Completes edition of Reticulated giraffe at Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles 1970 Artist-in-Residence, Hannover, West Germany 1971 Solo exhibition, at Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, Florida; included in exhibition, Technics and creativity: Gemini G.E.L., Museum of Modern Art, New York City, New York; completes editions of Brown pelican, Snowy owl and Art and technology at Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles 1972 Included in exhibition, California prints, Museum of Modern Art, New York City 1973 Selected as guest artist for Skylab II launch, courtesy of NASA, at Cape Canaveral, Florida; William Crutchfield: sage of machine wit, half-hour television special with Jonathan Winters and Vincent Price, KCET, Los Angeles 1977–78 Completes bronze multiples (including Double three, Double five and Fly) as well as editions of Diamond express, Trestle trains, Burial at sea at Tyler Graphics Ltd., Bedford Village, New York 1977 Included in exhibition, Art off the picture press, at Emily Lowe Gallery, Hofstra University, Hampstead, New York; solo exhibition, at Norton Gallery and School of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida 1979 Solo exhibition, at ARCO Center for Visual Arts, Los Angeles 1983 Completed brass sculpture The bravo award for Music Center of Los Angeles 1984 Included in exhibition, Gemini G.E.L.: art and collaboration, at National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC 1985 Included in exhibition, A serious look at humor, at Irvine Fine Arts Center, Irvine, California 1988 Awarded California Distinguished Artist, National Association of Art Educators, Los Angeles; awarded Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts, Los Angeles 1989 Included in Biennial of São-Paulo, Brazil; Humor in prints: Edward Hamilton collection, Museum of Art, University of Arizona, Tucson; Art influenced by transportation, Muckenthaler Cultural Center, Fullerton, California; public commission, The importance of being a bubble, for the passenger terminal International Airport, Fort Lauderdale 1997 Included in Gemini G.E.L.: celebrating 30 years, at Murray Feldman Gallery, Los Angeles

Related object

William Crutchfield, The Voyage