Tea with Colin Fraser
#Throw Back Mondays (originally posted 8/10/10)
Before meeting with Colin Fraser Gray, I had the opportunity to browse through his website; www.colinfrasergray.com. The website gave me a brief overview of Colin’s work, and his accomplishments. His work is mesmerizing; it jumps out and literally shakes your soul. This was the feeling it gave me from looking at the online photo’s, to see his artwork close up in real life was an experience all its own. From my research I came across interesting facts on Colin. In 2006 Colin rocked the city of Santa Barbara with his controversial sculpture “W”. The sculpture is a toppled, upside down McDonalds sign with green arrows shot into it. A very powerful piece that, I took as a stance against the corporatism that was running rampant at the time, and the head honcho known as “Dubya”.
During our time together Colin made it clear that his overall work is not politically motivated, but at the time, he “felt compelled to do “W”. Colin’s sculpture created such a ruckus that he would receive praise 4 times a day from the public, was covered in the news press 6 times in 6 months, and even made appearances on talk radio. A documentary was also made covering the positive and negative attention that “W” brought. Colin pointed out that he didn’t do it for the attention nor would’ve imagined that it would create the uproar that it did. But as we drank our tea and looked over the sketches that would soon become “W”, we both agreed that the American people were too complacent with the way things were being ran at the time and the lack of outspokenness is what motivated “W”.
Colin also erected the “Peace Monument” near the UCSB campus. Our conversation about the monument was very enlightening. The monument was built on the site were in the 1970’s over 700 people who were peacefully protesting were arrested and released the next day without charges. The design for the monument was inspired by Colin’s friend, cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien. Arrien has published a book titled the “The Four-Fold Way”. Using the practices of indigenous cultures she describes they ways to live a balanced life. Though the artist loves to sculpt and build, Colin made it clear that drawing is where the heart is.
Viewing Colin’s drawings, I thought to myself how astonishing it is for individuals to be this gifted. Colin states his “work is a story, that leaves you wondering what will happen next. The work continues and feeds off itself”. Although Colin does use color time to time, he prefers to draw in black and white. Colin likes the elegance that black and white drawings bring. The drawings that I was allowed to view were attention getting and thought provoking. Colin’s drawings definitely give the viewer an esoteric feeling, such as alchemy artwork.
This article is merely the tip of the iceberg that is Colin Fraser. I hope to continue and follow up with him; the short time that I spent with Colin was very illuminating and inspiring. With our interview coming to an end he declared that he wanted “to be part of a movement that brings drawing into more prominence… when [he] teaches, [he] creates new family members to the group. Drawing has been around since pre-historic man in caves and will continue well into the future”. The WAV offers an art walk every first Friday of the month, so get out there and enjoy the experience that is Colin Fraser.