Words by Mark Strijbosch
In a room full of chaos, Craig is the deep breath followed by the calm. He will not blurt out an answer, or even indicate that he might have one. He wears a stern poker face, and keeps mum… but when he does talk, silence falls around him and ears quickly pipe up.
His calculated approach to life is reflected in the evolution of his art work. The precision of the lines, colour of the backdrops and precise yet unique viewpoints are common traits in his style, and this mentality comes across well in his thought process. He is not a bandwagon type of guy and sets his own path way, whether you are following him or not.
"Skateboarding at 16 often carries a stereotype of the disrupted, the rebellious or the noisy..."
“It was only until after secondary school that I bought my first skateboard and hit the subway that I began to break my shackles”, he commented with a little young teenage spark in his eyes. Skateboarding at 16 often carries a stereotype of the disrupted, the rebellious or the noisy, but to Craig it remains “a sport for the free.” He loved the idea of learning how to skate as “there are no rules, no ways of doing things, no measurement for success, just your own free style where you are not even compared to other skaters. You just do it and you just have fun.”
Skating was just the tip of the iceberg. When he discovered the artistic space that is now the ruins Raffles discotheque, also glorified in the excellent Clubs Series, Craig was fully set free, but rather than it be a case of having a monster on the loose, we were given an artist who did not want to learn the rules from a text book, he wanted to make his own up, and we can see this free spirit throughout his different phases which have gradually and neatly made their way to the Te fit-Tazza collections.
“I think one of the keys is to stay true to your self and your own style.” His advice would be to “never abandon your own values, never buckle under the outside pressure.” The more society wants you to change the less happy you will be in life but if you stay true to yourself you will be happier and in this case, a better, purer creative
This philosophy comes across well in the art work because of the fact that Te fit-Tazza has set a standard and created a local trend. They have not copied or were not overly influenced by anyone as they simply “had fun and stayed true to ourselves and the brand.”
Craig’s mind is not bound to the sheet. His street art was well respected locally, but it is his musical side which really sets him apart. HIs incubation phase is often defined by throwing parties and these help his sub conscious work and churn out the ideas for his art pieces. Andrew loves his parties, and perhaps this is because he can also feel he can relax and switch off in the full knowledge that while spinning and mixing, the buzz motivates Craig to push himself and his imagination further.
Generally speaking, as Craig designs the pieces, Andrew handles the client side of things, but when Andrew traveled up to Iceland, a space was left for Craig to play around in and soon went full swing in delivering the products. This was a game changer as “you start to see people from all walks of life getting interested in the art, but I am not sure about swapping roles and letting Andrew design!”
"And that, ladies and gentlemen is what
Te fit-Tazza is all about."
“I love to see the variety of people that are into our work.” It is genuinely a mixed bag of people, you will have people who are more active in the art scene who dig the work, but we are also happily surprised to see a varied range of consumers buying the art piece because it struck a chord, and that, ladies and gentlemen is what Te fit-Tazza is all about.
“We have seen some of our pieces go in beautiful homes, and we love it when people send in snaps on their work” One of the collectors is Thomas Camilleri, who literally just “got it” from the get go. His framed “Pastizzi” piece is truly magnificent and it is set in a house which deserves its own audience too. “Tom captured exactly what we were after, he just got it and enriched it.”
Craig’s approach is extremely calculated and crafted in a culture of thought and he boils this down to the significance he puts in the creative process. “When the creative process is neglected, thoughts are rushed, disjointed and you can end up with a product that does not reflect yourself in the best light.”
Perhaps this is where most artists find a stumbling block. “They might be too hurried to conform to society’s pressure, too rushed, and finally end up perhaps settling for a work of art which has not had the time the brew into something unique and different, representing themselves fully and perhaps just not hitting the nail on the head in their initial idea and message.”
We see this trait often on the islands and Craig believes it is a pity, as “a creative process is an important set of values or map for your own brain.”
Oh, and those parties we talked about earlier, they do form part of his creative process and we can’t wait for the next one, as perhaps it will have an influence on the next releases Te fit-Tazza manage to provide for its growing and loving audience.