“My work was always instinctual. I believe in chance, thrift shops, found objects. In crafting records, for instance, I might hear an old Harry James riff and weave it into a Freddie Cannon song. The sound of someone slamming the studio door might become the hook. I view art the same. In the fifties I was close to Otto Fenn, the fashion photographer, who introduced me to Andy Warhol. We had an ongoing canasta game–Andy, Otto, Johnny Ray and myself. Andy was decorating the windows at Bendels and displaying his wonderful shoe sketches. I was working with linen and burlap, applying resin, molding, hardening and covering it with sand, beads and shells. Very organic, very physical. Andy considered my stuff edgy and arranged a show at the Bodley Gallery. Reviews were strong, interest high, but in the sixties the music business shot even higher.” — Bob Crewe, 1968
Virtually Explore the Bob Crewe Gallery
About Bob Crewe
Bob Crewe, 1930 – 2014, was born in Newark and raised in Belleville, New Jersey. He attended Parsons School of Art in New York City with the intent of pursuing his interest in architecture. Life, however, has a way of intervening with the best laid plans and in 1953, after one year at Parsons, Bob met Frank Slay and together they produced the doo-wop anthem Silhouettes which rose to number three on the charts and launched a rich and varied music career where Bob achieved tremendous success as singer, song writer — inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985 — and producer. After the impressive arc of his music career, in the 1990’s Bob returned with the same unabashed vigor to a serious engagement in the visual arts.
Bob Crewe crossed genres with fluidity, approaching music visually, painting and sculpture aurally and back, forth and sideways. In a recording session he is quoted saying: “I want to hear sky blue here; you’re giving me brown!” evidencing a kind of synesthesia. For Bob notions of tone, line, lyricism, composition and so on were employed with facility in every application regardless of medium. A true original, he carved out his own distinctive voice in the studios of sound and sight, fearless in his explorations; experimental with materials, confident in application.
The placement of Bob Crewe’s oeuvre at Maine College of Art is intended to highlight the multidimensional nature of creativity and to inspire students inclined to hybridization, cross fertilization and multiple fields of interest. Bob Crewe stands as an example of an enormously successful life engagement with the arts, gutsy and full throttle.
—Donna McNeil, Guest Curator
Work on Display
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