God has blessed me with natural drawing ability; I’ve been drawing since I could pick up a pen. I never received any formal training, but rather through years of hard work and practice I have developed my technique. ln 1999, at the age of 27, I left my three jobs — as a therapist to kids and adults with autism, as a nightclub bouncer, and a figure model — to pursue the creation of my art full-time.
Today, my style consists of mixed media. First, I use a BIC pen to draw faces using a stippling technique. Over many tedious hours I lay down the hundreds of thousands of dots to give the faces realism and depth. Then, I use wallpaper to build the clothes of the figure. Most recently, my pieces have consisted of large-scale vignettes involving dozens of figures per scene.
Social issues are incredibly important to me, and my work will always have some relation to an issue that I am currently burdened with. In the past this has included racism and genocide, and my current and future work will deal with gun violence and soldiers’ mental states upon returning from war.
Artist Bio / CV
Craig Norton's works are untitled. The media is ballpoint pen on board with collage, and all works were created between 2006 and 2007.
Like many self-taught artists Craig Norton makes work of remarkable directness. Unlike many self-taught artists Norton's ideas arrive channeled through his incredibly fine skills as a draftsman, made more uncanny by the fact that he has had no training of any kind and his sole drawing implements are .29 cent Bic pens. Norton renders photorealistic portraits of his subjects, pairing each of his drawn heads to abbreviated and collaged figures, resulting in fantastically disjointed images. Norton did not attend any art school or college. He earned his GED in 1995, and his first sales of artwork came selling decorated flowerpots in front of nightclubs while working as a bouncer, and his current work travels regularly to various Outsider Art fairs in New York and Chicago.
As part of his deep spirituality, Norton's work focuses on issues of social justice and man's inhumanity toward man; his previous work has included large series based on the genocide in Rwanda and the Holocaust, among others. His most recent exhibition, "One Hundred Twenty Seven Racist Drawings," addresses the history American racism and the Civil Rights movement.