Russell Crotty has been working on book drawings since about 1986 and considers these as an ongoing drawing that continues to this day. Like many of his sketchbooks, Crotty takes the title of the work from the text on the cover, and he gives these pseudo-publications, called California Homegrounds, arbitrary issue and volume numbers. The drawings inside the sketchbook are sometimes in a grid, and they often show figures drawn in simple sticklike silhouettes and energetic lines that express the waves. Crotty prefers these particular sketchbooks to be handled and weathered over time, alluding to a sense of romanticism—that of an artist and nomadic surfer capturing the seascape.
In the 1990s, Crotty was painting and only working on his sketchbooks on the side, but these pencil and ink drawings on paper were receiving stronger recognition alongside the works of Mike Kelley, Raymond Pettibon, and Jim Shaw, other cartoon-based artists. Another devoted practice for Crotty is astronomy, with which he makes connections to surfing, his other passion. Both of these interests were solidified when Crotty was just thirteen, and in both these subjects, observation of the environment and the atmosphere is key to his practice.
Russell Crotty was born in San Rafael, California, in 1956. He received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1978 and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine in 1980.
|Winter Is Now: California Home Grounds, Issue Nine, Vol. 10
Pencil and ink on paper, 1993
From the Stuart and Judy Spence Collection, donated April 1999 by Judy and Stuart Spence