At a time when the tension between the traditional and the technological is prevalent in the contemporary arts, North Yorkshire John Creighton has been embracing both in his North Yorkshire studio, producing work based on simple numeral and letter forms. The direct drawing comes from a deliberately limited number of pictorial elements such as abstract marks, signs and symbols: the digital intervention comes via improvisation on iPads and computer programs and a characteristic enjoyment in happy accidents and the serendipity of art. A kind of organic interplay between hand drawn and digital sketching ensues. “The flow of ideas give a coherence to the image without restricting or becoming too consciously calculated,” says John. “These digital prints are made using the iPad and computer programs. The images evolve by working with a limited number of pictorial elements, devices and game rules. These digital technologies allow the work to develop freely and intuitively creating strange surreal, and timeless worlds. ‘Towers with Figures’, ‘The Puppeteers Workshop’, ‘Figures with eye’ – many of the works have amongst the curveball humour a note of discord: disembodied faces gurn; figures, flanked by black phallic towers, fall; eyes stare unseeingly, relentlessly. Like all artists of integrity, John is reflecting the turbulent times in which he creates, and it is especially fascinating to witness a doubleness at work: the art is endowed with heft because it is both the subject matter and the means of imparting it, the medium and the message, that seem to harness our increasingly fragmented, dislocated place in the world, and the accompanying joy, fear and freedom that come accompanied with it.
Greg McGee, June 2017
Text originally appeared in international artzine ‘DreamCatcher’ (issue 35), in which Greg McGee works as Art Consultant. John Creighton’s latest framed series of prints is available for perusal and purchase right here, According to McGee, opposite Clifford’s Tower, York.