Photos by Ann Kornuta
Renowned Artist David Craig, now living in Carlisle, Ontario, was born in Saskatchewan, raised in Ottawa and lived in Milton from 1984 to 1994. He has always been fascinated with the history of Canada.
When told that the public considers that his art is stunningly impressive, the unassuming David Craig said: “You’re making my day! I was offered to do a job recently but I’m not that well. I can’t paint any more as I have Parkinson’s. I am 72. Those were done in bygone days.”
His mother was a War Bride who came from Bournemouth. His Dad, who was very critical of David Craig’s choice of an artistic career, had been a Canadian Bomber pilot. Both his parents are depicted in his artwork.
Among his many achievements, he designed Canadian coins, including the sesquicentennial silver dollar and several Olympic medals. As he recalls “I’ve done everything – commercial, editorial, illustrations…”
He has artwork in the newly revitalised Remembrance Museum at the Legion on Charles Street in Milton that shows his brilliantly intricate paintings of the Army, Navy and Air force during World War ll. Many of these have been used on plates for the Bradford Exchange and printed on posters for an unlimited number of prints.
His website states that he ‘spends as much time researching his subjects as creating his impressive pieces. Such precision has enabled him to successfully develop works for diverse series of clientele including Chatelaine and Readers’ Digest as well as Molson Brewery, the Canadian Football League and Marquee Magazine.’
David Craig’s eye catching artwork was shown in the FASM Gallery at the Milton Mall during April 2017. “David is a gentle soul who is deeply passionate about the subjects of his paintings.” said FASM President Ursula McDermid “Every work of art tells a story to the viewer. His long and illustrious career is a story on its own.”
A popular, beloved artist, some of his art featuring over 200 illustrations and spanning fifteen years of work was exhibited ‘in the O’Keefe Centre in Toronto for one month longer than scheduled in response to public demand.’
In 2003, he was awarded the James Madison Book Award for his artwork in the children’s book, First to Fly: How Wilbur and Orville Wright invented the Airplane.
David Craig reminisced how some pics that he was commissioned to create were for Pearl Harbour or the Alamo- and he would do a lot of research- “I spent a lot of time in the Milton Library researching.
“I was very dedicated. My ex-wife was second fiddle to my work. I loved working at my art all the time at all hours. It was like therapy.
“I’d do a picture and then I’d prop it up on the fireplace so I could look at it from a distance.”
He pointed out that previously ad illustrations were entirely hand drawn, not done on a computer.
“The Golf picture that was hanging in the FASM Mall Gallery was commissioned by the Toronto Star. It was full of men- famous golfers like Arnold Palmer. When they saw it they said ‘Can you squeeze in a couple of women golfers?!’ I did those very quickly. So I wasn’t so pleased with my paintings of the lady golfers in the picture.”
When asked how some of his pictures wound up in the Milton Legion Museum, David Craig said: “I had a beer with Vets in the Legion back in the 90s and I guess then I must have let them have some to show.”