We had the good fortune of connecting with Craig Randich and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Craig, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
It’s always been a part of my life. To the point where people have told me that it’s all I talk about – like it’s a bad thing. After high school I attended ECC (Elgin Community College in Illinois) where I received my associates degree in Political Science. During that time I took every art class available (welding, drawing, painting, jewelry, glass casting, glass blowing, ceramics, foundry, to name a few). I decided I needed to transfer to a 4-year college. So I attended ASU, in 2003, to pursue my love of architecture. The architecture building was next to the Art Department, I noticed that I’d be looking out the window down at the sculpture kids working and wondering what they were up to down there. So needless to say, I transferred into the Art Program and received my BFA IN 2007. So in many regards I feel that art choose my path. From there I started working at Bentley Gallery, in August of 2007. Funny story on how art choose my path again: I graduated from ASU, working odd jobs to get by. One day I received a voicemail from Bentley Gallery, I disregarded it because I never contacted them so I thought it was a missed call. Well they called again and left another voicemail saying “This is Bentley Gallery regarding a job; Damien Macintyre referred you for the job.” So I called him and said, “What’s this job at Bentley Gallery?” He apologized for not telling me, he left the position as assistant preparator and referred me. So I called them back and Lisa Greve and Bettys Rosenmiller offered me the job. I’ve been with Bentley Gallery ever since and currently am the director of the gallery It’s always been a part of my life. To the point where people have told me that it’s all I talk about – like it’s a bad thing. After high school I attended ECC (Elgin Community College in Illinois) where I received my associates degree in Political Science. During that time I took every art class available (welding, drawing, painting, jewelry, glass casting, glass blowing, ceramics, foundry, to name a few). I decided I needed to transfer to a 4-year college. So I attended ASU, in 2003, to pursue my love of architecture. The architecture building was next to the Art Department, I noticed that I’d be looking out the window down at the sculpture kids working and wondering what they were up to down there. So needless to say, I transferred into the Art Program and received my BFA IN 2007. So in many regards I feel that art choose my path. From there I started working at Bentley Gallery, in August of 2007. Funny story on how art choose my path again: I graduated from ASU, working odd jobs to get by. One day I received a voicemail from Bentley Gallery, I disregarded it because I never contacted them so I thought it was a missed call. Well they called again and left another voicemail saying “This is Bentley Gallery regarding a job; Damien Macintyre referred you for the job.” So I called him and said, “What’s this job at Bentley Gallery?” He apologized for not telling me, he left the position as assistant preparator and referred me. So I called them back and Lisa Greve and Bettys Rosenmiller offered me the job. I’ve been with Bentley Gallery ever since and currently am the director of the gallery. 

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m most proud of my permanent public art project at Cambria Hotel in Downtown Phoenix. People have the chance to see and experience it everyday. Aside from that, I really enjoy working on my text based artwork, where I play within the lines of being an artist and an art dealer. The artwork is a much-needed outlet, due to the stress of being an art dealer and artist. You hear stories from both sides – I’m both – so I can see different perspectives. It’s hard being an artist and it’s hard being an art dealer. My text-based work is a vulnerable introspection into a personality steeped with linguistic anxieties, coping mechanisms and byproducts of survival behavior in the highly literate 21st century. Stemming from my own barriers with language comprehension, it brings attention to overlooked language disabilities that are often hidden by those who experience them. The playful – yet poignant – compositions come to life through large scale repetitions and plays on words, drawing inquiry from the literate and bringing dialogue to those who are fearful of their shortcomings. Professionally, my work serves a dual purpose. As a gallerist for nearly two decades, I draw significantly from my own experiences in high-end gallery sales. The experience as a mediator between well-known artists and clients has offered me a uniquely critical vantage point from which to develop my own body of work. My seemingly beneficial proximity to the contemporary art world creates a dilemma as an artist myself. Issues with conflicts of interest, and focuses on the well-being of other artists creates a unique predicament for me. As an artist whose existence is simultaneously intimate with the art world’s inner workings, yet his placement causes a tragic barrier from entry.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d take them to Flagstaff and Sedona – they have some of the best and beautiful places to hike and get away. Arizona has created a foodies dream and some of the best local restaurants to offer. When in Phoenix, we’d visit the local galleries and museums. Drink at Gracie’s Tax Bar, Pigtails, Valley Bar, play at StarDust Bar, eat at Ziggys Magic Pizza Shop (I’d suggest the So Fresh So Clean Pizza), AZ Wilderness (Duck Fat Fries are a must), The Larry, breakfast at Ollie Vaughn’s and Matt’s Big Breakfast (The Skinny is my favorite), dinner would definitely be at Kaizen PHX eating all the sushi one can handle (it’s ALL amazing). Sunset at South Mountain to top it off.– THE END

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people that have supported/mentored/loved me. My parents are amazing – they’ve always supported and encouraged their kids to do what they love, no matter how much money you make. I was given a hard medical diagnosis two years ago – for 6 months my parents tag teamed flying back and forth taking care of me. They and I had a great supportive group here around me: from friends like – Kaylah and Joseph Kolasinski, IdaKaterine Graver, Chris Raypole, and Bentley Calverley (my boss at Bentley Gallery). My parents and I couldn’t have done it without them. I am very fortunate. Bentley Calverley encouraged me to apply for the shade structure at Cambria Hotel, while I was sitting on my a** recovering. I didn’t what to but she pushed me to not give up and do something creative as I sat there. Needless to say, I received the contract and can see it at Cambria Hotel (222 E Portland St, Phoenix, AZ 85004).

Website: www.craigrandich.com
Instagram: @craigrandich
Facebook: Craig Randich

Image Credits
Portrait: Rembrandt Quiballo Artwork images: John Dowd @ ClutchStudios

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