Frank Lloyd’s blog

Art, architecture and the people that I know.

Breakfast with Craig

with 3 comments

Some of my fondest memories of Craig Kauffman are from coffee shops. Craig knew the diners and coffee shops of Los Angeles pretty well. When we traveled together, we also met for breakfast, sometimes in a hotel and other times in a neighborhood diner. Over the years we had breakfast in New York, San Francisco, Nagoya, Paris, Zurich and Manila.

No matter where we went, Craig was absolutely punctual. He always greeted me with the same, “Hey, there he is!”  From the beginning of our breakfasts, I learned that coffee shops were a big part of the inspiration for his work. I learned that it was in the early 1960s, at Jan’s coffee shop on Beverly Boulevard, that Kauffman said he had “seen sort of resin decorative things, where the color was sort of transparent and rounded out.”  Like so many artists, Kauffman found strange beauty in the commonplace.

And, as Craig has said, “There were two big pop machines that bubbled and spewed stuff out. They were right across the street from my studio…Ed Moses and I used to go in there and have doughnuts. And these two big—it was grape and an orange, and I always liked those colors a lot. I thought, Jesus that would be really great to have colors like that in my paintings.”

Craig could find source material anywhere. Sometimes it was sort of perverse and contrary, or unexpected. He wasn’t looking for materials that would emphasize the surface, and that’s often misunderstood by critics. He was looking for an unorthodox support for painting, and wanted to find a way to paint pure sensual color.


Written by Frank Lloyd

July 17, 2010 at 1:13 am

3 Responses

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  1. I so enjoyed my visit this afternoon. The Graham sculptures are simply terrific. I loved the bas relief
    in particular.
    I enjoy your blog. It’s so informative and very conversational.

    Alan Mandell

    July 17, 2010 at 5:49 am

  2. Thanks for your comments Alan, and let’s go to breakfast sometime soon. Some day I’d like to do a post about your collection, if that meets your approval.


    July 17, 2010 at 7:34 pm

  3. You run a great blog. I don’t come often enough, but when I do I’m always treated to information I was unaware of.

    “Like so many artists, Kauffman found strange beauty in the commonplace.”

    I love that sentence

    Pasadena Adjacent

    July 24, 2010 at 9:04 pm

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