Painting, Drawing, Painting, Portrait, Landscape, Acrylic, Oil, Pastels
The evocative and multi layered paintings and pastels of Gary Crawford are an exploration in form using dynamic and many times, explosive splashes of colour, line and light.
" At once ethereal, intense and dramatic, Gary Crawford's works draw the viewer in. Layer upon layer of brilliantly contrasting colours are laid down, or thrust upon the viewer. These layers are increasingly refined with a riot of bold drips, splotches, splatters and squiggles that animate and energize the works with a certain deliberate tension. And then there is the light - part of the final layering process that lifts the spirit and draws the eye to explore the depths of the work - time and time again." Jacqueline Spicer, Birchcliff News, 2012.
Gary Crawford was born in 1960 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and moved to Scarborough, then Pickering, Ontario at an early age. Gary is one of four siblings, parent of two girls and step-parent to four, with three grandchildren. He is married to his second wife Kitty and resides in Toronto.
Gary attended York University from 1979 – 1983 where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours Degree, with majors in painting and sculpture. His professors included Canadian artists, Ron Bloore, Paul Sloggett and Claude Breeze.
After University, Gary worked as a graphic artist at Southam Inc. while he pursued his painting. He had his first one man show in 1986 at Nancy Poole’s Studio in Yorkville, followed by another show in Yorkville at Gallery Hittite, also in Yorkville. He showed in numerous group shows in Toronto and is represented in private and public collections.
In 1996 Gary was commissioned by the United Church of Canada to illustrate their affirmation of faith, the Creed, “We Are Not Alone We Live in God’s World”. A best seller with over 15,000 copies sold across Canada and the United States, the original, chalk pastel, thought provoking illustrations brought the words to life.
In 2010 Gary was elected as a City Councillor, representing Scarborough Southwest at Toronto City Council and was re-elected four times. He held many important roles on Council, including over 8 years as the City’s Budget Chair and a member of the Mayor’s Executive Committee. Though his painting career was not as prominent during this period he did balance his role of artist and politician.
In 2013 Gary was commissioned by then Mayor Rob Ford’s mother Diane to do a portrait of her son that he painted over the previous summer.
As a practicing artist with a BFA degree from York University, Gary Crawford has brought a unique perspective and vision to Toronto City Council on the importance of arts and creativity in building a vibrant and world class city. Gary has an impressive scope of experience supporting the arts, sitting on numerous Boards, including the Toronto Arts Council, Vice Chair, TOLive, Vice Chair of the Film Board, Young People’s Theatre, Artscape, the Gardiner Museum, Canadian Stage, Harbourfront Centre for the Arts and the PAIS Board of Directors, Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts. Gary has also chaired the Mayor’s Task Force on the Arts and Theatres, the Theaters Working Group and was Chair of the Exhibition Board of Governors.
During his tenure as City Councillor, including being Chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on the Arts and Theatres, member of the Economic Development and Culture Committee and as Budget Chair, Gary successfully brought forward recommendations to support historic increases to arts funding over many years.
As a practicing artist and politician Gary Crawford has brought a unique and important perspective to the important role the arts and artists play in a creative world class city like Toronto.
Gary retired from Toronto City Council in 2023 and is now pursuing his art full time.