Jun 29, 2012 07:49AM ● Published by Style
Photos by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.
The word “art” conjures images of paintbrushes and pallets, large easels and small bits of charcoal.
Yet, sometimes, the most beautiful works come from the most unexpected materials. Such is the case with Folsom’s Dave Cronk, a prolific mixed media artist whose use of unconventional materials and tools lend themselves to abstract masterpieces.
Having spent his youth in pursuit of an architectural degree, the hard knocks of life pushed him out of the classroom and into the field earlier than he’d expected, but his passion for beauty and form never waned. A contractor by trade, Cronk channeled his artistic talents into his business, earning a reputation for mind-bending concrete work. “One day, while waiting for a client to show up, I had some epoxy laying around. I poured it on a piece of wood, grabbed a leaf blower and thought, ‘Hey, that’s pretty cool.’” A short time later, Cronk experimented with this technique on an old coffee table, and the results were met with enthusiasm from friends and family. Thus began his transition from popular concrete artisan to renowned abstract artist.
According to Cronk, epoxy is a challenging medium. “It actually begins to cook after too long in the cup,” he explains, “I only have about 45 minutes to work with it.” Given the time constraints, he begins with a base color and then layers more colored epoxy on top, providing both depth of color as well as unique textures and profiles.
“I like color composition,” Cronk says, when asked about the origins of his inspiration. “I start with primary colors, adding pigments to clear epoxy, sometimes using as many as eight or nine colors in all.” Cronk uses a multitude of unconventional tools when creating his artwork, including toothpicks, Popsicle sticks, air compressors, and plasma cut pieces of sheet metal. He goes on to explain that while he doesn’t usually have a specific image in mind, he knows when he begins a piece whether explosive color with movement or soft and subdued tones will guide his hands.
Cronk recently began incorporating text into his pieces. “People build a relationship with a piece of art,” he explains. By adding inspirational quotes and phrases, he hopes to increase that emotional connection. He also loves to teach and inspire others in his field. The intense passion he has for his work drove him to produce the television show Everything Concrete, which showcases techniques in concrete work as well as accomplished individuals in the industry. “I’m driven by passion,” he says.
Cronk is in negotiations with various production companies and networks to bring Everything Concrete to viewers in 2013. His work is displayed in galleries, restaurants and shops throughout northern California and is for sale on his Web site. “If it’s not something you love doing, it’s not worth doing it.”
Visit davecronk.com for more information.