transports of delight

Transports of delight and other contraptions. The great age of invention is not over. Looking back, his fantastical engines did not impress the patent office, but artist William Crutchfield was a master in thinking them up….Harking back to a heroic age  but re-fashioned as the patently absurd. Such an odd combination of elements- the precise detail, the nostalgic rendering of objects and contrivances belonging to an earlier happier day, the mock heroism of the imperiled are the unmistakable earmarks of William Crutchfield…

William Crutchfield (born 1932)
Beached City
Screenprint on paper
image: 651 x 972 mm
Presented by Rose and Chris Prater through the Institute of Contemporary Prints 1975–Read More:

Believe six impossible things before breakfast, as Alice in Wonderland’s queen advised, and Crutchfield seems to have followed the celebrated admonition. Born and raised in Indianapolis, home of the famous Speedway, Crutchfield lives by the proposition that man’s mechanical feats in the period of 1840 to 1914 marked a true summit of human achievement, at least in an industrial context, and that these feats were nonetheless absurd. There is a love for the sheer bravura of steam locomotives, rickety bi-planes, and oversized paddle boats.

—Crutchfield employed his characteristic style by using tusche applied with a pen to create the inventive subject matter. The artist then had the printer apply various colors of ink to one roller to create the blended effect of the palette. Crutchfield’s interest in the relationship between man and machine ….Read More: image:

Yet, Crutcfield’s work is a devastating parody of the vaunting spirit behind them, the technological fate that holds that if a thousand foot ship is good, a ten thousand foot ship is ten times better. Crutchfield is an artist who showed a love and passion for machinery with an understanding of the fatuousness of this unrequited love….

—from Auction House Records.
Babylon, the Hanging Gardens Van, 1976—Read More:


(see link at end)…William Crutchfield, artist
“One of the most important things about my work is imagination. Everything in the composition is necessary, and it’s alive. I draw a complete idea (hopefully). Every dot, every line is in the right place. And that’s something I think about. The finished work should have multiple levels of expression. I think drawing is the root of everything including sculpture and after you’ve drawn for so many years, you just think that way.”

Dean Valerie Eickmeier, Herron School of Art and Design
“William Crutchfield has a whimsical and satirical approach to art that is at once humorous and thought provoking. The body of his work emphasizes trains, ships, aircraft and other things mechanical, yet there are many quirky figures, animals and other tangents on display throughout the decades. The range of scale and mediums he uses—from small notepad line drawings to six-foot watercolors to 28-foot tall wooden sculptures—qualify him as true multi-media artists. Read More:

This entry was posted in Feature Article, Ideas/Opinion, Modern Arts/Craft and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>