KING Brings Whimsical Art to Germania Brew Haus
When Craig “KING” McCullough started his first painting at the age of 23, he realized what he needed to do with his life. Since then, he has cultivated a whimsical art style with themes of folklore and fantasy.
KING is a self-taught musician and artist working in the greater St. Louis area. He currently has an art show, titled “Unconscious,” at Germania Brew Haus. To get more detail about this artist and his unique artwork, we chatted with KING about his personal history with art, inspiration and his upcoming projects.
My first question is how long have you been making art?
I've been painting for 10 years now. I started playing guitar when I was young and I was writing my own music in a band. At some point, we became art fans and thought it would be cool to write music based on paintings. I don't remember how it came about, but eventually, I thought, well why don't I just make the paintings myself, even though I've never done that.
Oh, that’s cool! Do you still make music?
I put music on hold until just late last year, I believe, when I started a YouTube channel devoted to various ambient compositions I’ve produced. I’m also working on a metal album slowly as we speak! I had to get the art thing to a place where I felt comfortable enough with my skills and work habits to continue on with music.
Is all your experience in art and music self-taught?
Yes, all of my art experience is self-taught. I did take guitar lessons for a bit when I was young, but that's it. No art classes in college or anything like that. I didn't even start making art until after that, so I just had to teach myself everything I know.
How did it evolve into the style you currently have today? Did you have any sources of inspiration for your work?
It just took a couple of thousand works for me to figure out what worked for me, what I liked, what I never wanted to do again and etc. It was a lot of time and a lot of work.
For a very long time, I had to stop going to the museum and looking at art books. Even though all that inspired me, since I didn't know what I was doing, I found myself trying to basically copy whoever had influenced me most at that moment. For a number of years, when I started, I only had one goal though and that was to finish one piece a week.
Was there any specific source of inspiration for the gallery you have up at Germania Brew Haus?
Well, I’ve always been interested in ridiculous things. Godzilla, Bigfoot, weird creatures of all kinds, etc. At some point in my art making, I just decided to do things to amuse myself and make something that was interesting to look at. There is enough bad stuff out there, and I kind of want to counter the modern art idea that it has to be super dark and not that pleasant to look at in order to make an impact or be a piece of serious art.
I kind of got the feeling you were a fan of cryptids. Do you have a favorite one?
Bigfoot! Haha. I don’t know why. The possibility of a big smelly ape walking around in the woods is hilarious to me, even if I don't really believe it. I like the idea of dragons and Godzilla, too. I’m a big alien fan as well. I don't necessarily believe any of it, but I hope it's all real.
Do you have any projects coming up in the future that people can look forward to?
Future projects are pretty open. The show at Germania Brew Haus is my first real art showing in just about 4 years, so I used that as an opportunity to get back out there and get my art to the public.
The future is pretty wide open right now, save for making a lot more art and music! I have a huge back catalog though so when I get offered a show or an idea, I can just say yes and work out the details later.
The last question I have is what's your favorite flavor of soda?
Well, I'm a ginger beer kind of guy. Not popular in America and people think its booze, but it's not. It’s just super gingery ginger ale. And for the record, I do enjoy warm soda.
If you are interested in contacting KING about his art or music, you can find him at Facebook.com/mccullough or at his Instagram account @king.mcc. You can also find his ambient compositions at https://www.youtube.com/user/kingcraigmcc.
Written by HP Jarden