Bruce Bio

Bruce Crownover - Artist and Master Printmaker

Artist’s Statement

Continuing in the long-standing tradition of exploring nature, I am fascinated by ordinary–and extraordinary­–landscapes, weather, and space.  From the micro- to macroscopic, I find myself in the center and am compelled to draw or paint this juxtaposition, as I perceive it.

Biography

Born and raised in Southern California, artist and printmaker, Bruce Crownover came to Madison to study printmaking at the UW-Madison’s renowned printmaking department.

1987, his first year in Madison, was the same year professor Bill Weege founded Tandem Press.  Crownover and other students were invited by Weege to volunteer at Tandem to help him launch the printmaking studio. In 1989, two years after Tandem opened, Crownover earned his MFA in printmaking.

Shortly thereafter, Crownover met Keiji Shinohara, a Japanese Ukiyo-e master printer, and was offered a job carving woodblocks for his studio, Cherrywood Press, in Boston.  Crownover traveled to Boston and worked for Shinohara creating prints for Sean Scully, Chuck Close, Robert Stackhouse and John Newman.  These prints were executed in both Boston and New York.

In 1992, Crownover returned to Madison, opened an art studio of his own and was hired as a part time Associate Printer at Tandem.  He also worked for Weege making paper at his studio, Off Jones Road, in Arena, WI.  When not working at either Tandem or Off Jones Road, Crownover painted in his studio, primarily producing watercolor, pen and ink drawings and paintings.  His paintings, drawings, and encaustics on handmade paper have been shown in various galleries and venues throughout the area.

In 1994, Crownover became a full time printer at Tandem.  In his years spent there, he became a close collaborator with many artists, most notably Sam Gilliam, Sam Richardson, Richard Bosman, Robert Cottingham, and Judy Pfaff.   He honed his wood-carving, relief, and intaglio skills and became known for his range of printmaking techniques.  In all there have been over seventy artists he has worked with at Tandem Press including Phillip Pearlstein, Charles Arnoldi, Lynda Benglis, Karen Kunz, and Italo Scanga.  Crownover, either directly or secondarily, was involved in creating and editioning hundred of their prints.

Bruce has also been a guest lecturer throughout the country in museums, colleges and universities, promoting Tandem Press and the mission of the School of Education at UW-Madison, working as a guest artist, and sharing his art experiences with others.

Since 2009, along with artists Todd Anderson and Ian van Collier, Crownover began working on a documentary project entitled The Last Glacier.  Through painting, photography, and printmaking, the fieldwork in the National Parks for this project captures a glimpse of the retreating glaciers of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park in Alberta, Canada, and Montana.  Of the originally documented 150 glaciers, only 25 remain.  Visit The Last Glacier website to learn more about this multi-year, collaborative project that has resulted in large-scale, handmade books with original art bound by Master BookBinder Rory Sparks.

Here is what other artists say about Crownover:

“Bruce must be the person John Wayne was modeled after.  I realized this particularly after I saw him with his router.  I think he’s a wonderful person because Bill Weege and I raised him.  It’s not that Bruce is going to be a great artist but he is one now.”
–Sam Gilliam, artist

“What makes working with Bruce so special is that in addition to being a Master Printer, he is also an artist whose work I respect.  As a collaborator, he brings an enviable understanding of the many print processes.  As a fellow artist he is capable of understanding my goals and is thus able to direct me to the best means of achieving them in a print. I am happy-more than happy, to have his hand in my work.  When, at the end of the process we have an edition of which we are both proud, it is always better than I could have imagined, and always a true collaboration of artists.”
 –Suzanne Caporael, artist

“Bruce Crownover is a seasoned printer and a mainstay at Tandem Press. He has worked at the shop for at least as long as I’ve been printing there, which puts him at the “over fifteen years” mark.

Bruce is a pleasure to work with. Besides his skills, technical advice, and problem-solving abilities, Bruce’s wide-ranging interests guarantee that lively conversation will accompany the day’s work.

I find Bruce’s schedule equally impressive. When a day at Tandem comes to an end, he will almost certainly head home to continue his own creative work, whether it be drawing,  watercolor, or other experimental projects. I greatly admire the devotion he has to his work.

He is a Renaissance Man.”
–Robert Cottingham, artist