“I feel every opportunity must be taken to draw the eye to the art of W.S. Cranmore.” Elvis Costello (Singer/Songwriter)
Considering the centrifugal role that music plays in W.S. Cranmore's process in making Art, there could be no greater accolade than that from a musician and one of W.S. Cranmore’s musical inspirations.
W.S. Cranmore’s artworks are known for their distinctive geometric patterns, bold lines and borders, and nontraditional composition. At the intersection of Expressionism, Geometric Abstraction and Pop Art, W.S. Cranmore’s artworks meld early modernist with later post-modernist influences. His art invites subjective interpretation, emotional introspection and personal appreciation, telling personal stories and re-imagining memories in a uniquely unconventional way.
But it would be incorrect to say these artworks are created with a specific goal in mind. Instead, Cranmore focuses on the process, letting the paintings imagine themselves into being along a creative journey that starts and ends with music.
W.S. Cranmore’s approach to Art is to let the image come to him and for the image evolve through a completely abstract process – led by emotions and feelings evoked by music.
Cranmore harnesses the power of creativity-inspiring ‘white noise’ sound – ambient tracks with no beat, understated melody and no lyrics.
Like the blank canvas before the artist, the music is a starting point from which the painting expresses itself. “Ambient music in particular is like the musical equivalent to abstract expressionism and some of my most inspired work has been created to ambient music.”
Music remains core to the process throughout, with a particular track that ’speaks to the emergence of the art’ played until the painting is done – or until it has fully expressed itself.
“I paint with a piece of music that connects with the art. It’s through the music that I will find out the rest of the painting.”
The importance of music is extended to the viewer of the painting – who is also sometimes invited to play a particular piece of music while viewing an artwork.
This being how Elvis Costello came to own one of W.S. Cranmore’s paintings.
“I happened upon ‘Our Lady of the Signal’ with the enigmatic footnote that the image should be paired with my old song ‘Kid About It’ – a melody composed of that wretched day on which John Lennon left this earth. I am happy to say that ‘Our Lady Of The Signal’ will now hang on my wall and I will share my day with the work of W.S. Cranmore.”
Over a career spanning more than a decade, W.S. Cranmore’s paintings have been the subject of three solo exhibitions – his first at the Red Fox Lounge, Portland; then Milwaukie City Hall and at The Brassworks Annex, Portland, where he was one of the very few abstract artists to ever have a solo show.
Cranmore’s artworks have also been included in in over a dozen group exhibitions, including annual exhibitions three years in a row at the Big 500 Art Show – one of the largest art exhibitions in the Pacific North West, and have been featured in a number of art auctions held to raise funds for charitable organizations in the United States – including Non-Profit Organizations ‘Gravity Water’ and the ‘Halo Arts Project’.
W.S. Cranmore has also completed artworks for album covers – including for English Rock Group ‘The Procedures’, and American Indie Rock Band ‘Mass Solo Revolt’ (2021 album ‘Sea Of Inches’).
The Artist and his work have also been featured in a number of print and online art magazine publications and blogs and Cranmore’s artworks can be found in public and private collections across the United States and in five countries around the world.
“W.S. Cranmore has an amazing sense for composition and color. He presents us with beautifully designed images that are, not only inspiring, but reminiscent of architecture, industrial design, modern day technology, and computer motherboards. With a great awareness of contemporary art, these images display a masterful control, and are always exceptionally intriguing.” Lorena Malm, Curator at Affinity Art Group.
“Cranmore creates a sympathetic space for our internal and external emotional communication because he positions himself as a fellow traveler and not a guide.” John Crowther, Independent Art Critic.
W.S. Cranmore lives in Milwaukie, Oregon. Of Irish heritage, he (who used to own and operate a Celtic Music promotion company ‘67 Music’) is also an Irish Language enthusiast.
When not painting, the Artist enjoys spending time with his family, and “watching his daughters grow into independent human beings.”