Crail Moansburg

by Sunday, September 14, 2014


Crail Moansburg was the only offspring of a marriage, commencing in wartime, between an American father and a german mother. They were both working just across the German border, on American army soil.

After difficult school-years, Moansburg attended the Royal Art Academy in Arnhem when he was 18 years old. His drawings were magnificent, but that wasn’t enough, and his concentration issues forced him to leave the academy. Without a diploma, learned from bitter experience, he became manager of a nightclub in the infamous Spijkerkwartier, Arnhem.



He found meaning and peace in his work. He also took up his paintbrush again. Behind the scenes, he captured scenes of performances and performers in the nightclub. He used the posters announcing shows in the backgrounds of his work. The characters on canvas had a nostalgic value for the artist. He gave away lots of his work to his dancer friends and clients frequenting the establishment, as he viewed his artistic efforts merely as a hobby. Work from this era is therefore hard to retrace.



Het spijkerkwartier was dismantled by the local authorities. Moansburg lost his job and had no other option than to completely focus on his original talent again. It felt like a second marriage. The icons Moansburg puts onto canvas represent a romantic notion for him. He loves them, whether they are real or fictitions. Recurring themes are stratification and the longing for times gone by. Originating from the thought that art should be, above all, layered, his visions on the aesthetics have been developed and made explicit. His work shows the absolut randomness of the fetish we have with the capitalist information culture we live in. On the other hand it demonstrates a loving glance and a grand admiration for times gone by.



Today, Crail Moansburg runs a big silk screen studio in the Karl Marx Factory, together with his lover assistant. They works together with an ever-changing group of artists, taking something unique from each of them, never seizing to create new productions. Every story has its own truths and concealed in every ugliness lies beauty. This thought is best embodied using different signatures. Like the painted and stickered walls of metropoles, the canvasses develop. Layer over layer, vision over vision, signature over signature.


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