For over 25 years, Russell Crotty has created and exhibited a large body of art work, manifested in globes, drawings and books. In his practice, he explores the very things he loves most: amateur astronomy, the natural world, and surfing.


Crotty is well-known for his ink drawings of nighttime skies based upon his own astronomical observations. Merging two and three dimensions, he draws on globes of various sizes, inverting our notions of planet and sky. We become boundless observers of a contained universe.


Crotty also makes two-dimensional drawings and large-scale books. Sometimes the works include anecdotal text and notations from his field expeditions, exhaustively descriptive and intentionally verging on bad poetry and self-parody.


His ongoing sketchbook series, “California Homegrounds,” begun in the 1980s, depicts stories of real and imagined surf spots and characters, sometimes including surf world lingo or invented phrases. Out of the “California Homegrounds” books evolved a more formal approach to drawing surf images: the grid drawings. Within a penciled grid, small gestural surfers and waves, drawn with ball-point pen, create two distinct effects. Up close, the drawings become dynamic sequential motion, yet from afar, they are minimal, abstract and quiet. Some of these drawings are massive, up to 10 x 20 feet, containing over 40,000 individual cells.


Other recent works on paper consist of singular surfing moments drawn with driftwood sticks dipped in india ink, with washes of subtle color in gouache.

Studio views