Charles Criner has been the Museum’s Artist-in-Residence for over a decade. In addition to working in his studio, the Printer’s Workshop, Charles leads the weekly Public Printing Tours and most of our group tours for children and adults. He is also available to speak about his work at schools, senior centers and other community organizations.

Charles is the kind of artist who likes to “exhaust” the medium. He “pulls” his prints in black and white, then in color, and may add acrylic over the print to produce original paintings on paper.

He, however, is also parsimonious, or rather, enjoys the limitations of using only three colors and no more to make his prints. He is furthermore the kind of artist/craftsman who prizes the concrete relationship between himself and his work. Charles always pulls prints himself, never letting other professional printers do this for him.

Charles’ works have strong narrative content. His images tell a story that the artist wants viewers to comprehend easily. The story is woven out of his immediate, personal experiences—or more exactly, his recollections of those experiences in his memory—some distant and others more immediate, but in either case they are very close and familiar to the artist.

To many viewers, however, it would appear to be the case that there are two very different groups of images: one group consists of images of fishing and the other of rural scenes that are rooted in the artist’s childhood years. The fishing images depict the artist’s favorite past time, which is also a popular and familiar hobby for many people. In contrast, the rural scenes are heroic images—in many instances imbued with a sense of religiosity—of Black People working in the fields. In recent years, a third group of images has been added to the artist’s corpus. Those are the African images based upon his travel to South Africa.

You can learn more about Charles’ work at his website: