We interview artist Greg “Craola” Simkins about his art, instagram and the upcoming show at UNIT London @Paintguide

Henrik Uldalen who runs @Paintguide, the successful instagram feed which he has meticulously curated over the past year (which promotes the work of emerging international artists) has this month teamed up with London gallery UNIT London to bring 60 of these artists (predominately painters) to a gallery setting.

Over the next few weeks FAD will be interviewing 6 of the artists from the exhibition the third artist in the series is Greg “Craola” Simkins’

Greg -Craola- Simkins, The Messenger, 84 x 48 inches

1 How has Instagram & social media in general impacted on your art practice?

Social media has been an incredibly useful way of really getting my work in front of people’s eyes. Ever since my first piece appeared on Art Crimes way back in the late 90s, as well as on MySpace and with my first edition on Imscared.com, I’ve welcomed the impact of having my work seen by such a broad, international audience. Instagram increasingly feels like the most effective platform for artists, as it has removed the distractions that you might find on other social media platforms, streamlining an artist’s project of self promotion.  

2 Can you tell us about your work and what are the main ideas you try and express.

My work is filled with a mixture of creatures from our world that have been morphed, twisted and then introduced into storybook/surreal worlds, and focuses on the interactions that go on there. I have always striven to capture the feeling that Alice might have had falling down the rabbit hole, or what Lucy might have felt walking through the wardrobe into Narnia. I’m interested in painting the worlds that we fall into when we daydream.

3 How do you decide what your next artwork/project will be and how do you know when it is finished?

The transition from one project to another is fairly fluid these days, as I work on pieces that fit into a world I like to call ‘The Outside’, which is my own version of Wonderland, Oz, Never Never Land etc. I keep loose pocket-sized sketch books that I fill up with notes and drawings, which I then meticulously dissect before starting on my paintings.

Greg -Craola- Simkins, Where Am I, 96 x 72 inches

Greg -Craola- Simkins,The Artifact, acrylic, 40 x 48

4 Does your art look best on Instagram or in a gallery?

Definitely in a gallery. The only way of seeing the subtle, hidden details and various textures of a work is to see it in person. However, Instagram is still a great way to showcase one’s work as well as being a fantastic forum to advertise print releases and exhibition openings.

5 How has it been working with Henrik Uldalen and @Paintguide?

Henrik is highly talented, with a unique style that harks back to that of the Old Masters. @Paintguide, by extension, is a fantastic resource to see some of the best works out there.

6 Which artists would you recommend us following on Instagram and why?

Obviously @henrikaau, but others include @dabsmyla, @tonycuranaj, @mars_1_, @alexpardee, @bethcavener and @sergiosanchezart. I’ll just let you follow them to see why.

PAINTGUIDE runs 27th November – 23rd December 2015 at UNIT LONDON | 147-149 Wardour Street, London W1F 8WD theunitldn.com

Greg -Craola Simkins-, The Gobbler, acrylic, 30 x 30 inches

Greg -Craola-Simkins, Finding Home, acrylic, 60 x 48 inches

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine, ' A curation of the world’s most interesting culture' [PLUS] Art of Conversation: A tri-annual 'no news paper'