Watercolor brushwork, on handmade papers, blends minimalist abstraction, elements of our natural environment, Asian aesthetics — and occasionally whimsy — to provide a momentary rest from the constant barrage of information and sensory overload we have come to accept as “normal”.
An Indiana native, Craig Whitten was born in South Bend and moved to Lafayette at the age of thirteen. He received a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Purdue University in 1991.
Practicing Landscape Architecture for over 25 years, Craig’s experiences include work in San Diego, California and Chicago, Illinois before returning to Lafayette, Indiana in 1996. He owned and operated a successful landscape design build firm until deciding to pursue fine art full-time at the beginning of 2014.
Craig’s interest in the arts began well before college and was broadened by the more formal training required by his degree and exposure to various media and techniques encountered at Purdue, most impactful being watercolor. His love of Japanese gardens and the overall Asian aesthetic drew Craig toward research and immersion in Japanese Garden design along with woodblock printing, bonsai, Chinese calligraphy and ikebana. Additional experimentation with photography, woodworking and sculpture would grow out of a career which, at its heart, combined sculpting the earth and arranging plants and other elements of color and texture to ‘paint’ environments for his landscape clientele.
Looking back on his life and career to this point, Craig realizes one overriding directive that has influenced every step he has made: Any time he creates a piece of work, be it with land, paint, or whatever he happens to have his hands on at the moment, his goal is to provide the intended audience with an opportunity for reflection or simply a chance to stop and take a deep satisfying breath to help them continue their journey.