Micah Crandall-Bear blurs the lines—literally and figuratively—between abstracts and landscapes with his sweeping, latitudinal paintings. Known for their magnetic color combinations and crisp, white Polaroidlike borders, his creations are instantly recognizable—and desirable. So it’s no surprise that he’s a part of the growing generation of local artists who are able to make their living purely off their art. Crandall-Bear is frequently exhibited at Elliott Fouts Gallery in Sacramento and Christopher Hill Gallery in Healdsburg and has also been shown in Miami and Paris. His paintings can be found in various Facebook, Visa and Intel corporate offices around the world.
“Spindrift,” Kim Squaglia (above, foreground)
“In 2006-ish, I found myself obsessing over a giant Kim Squaglia painting at the Crocker. Fast-forward five years, I met Kim at Chargin’s of all places. Fast-forward five or so more years, and she is one of my best friends. She recently gifted me this piece. It reminds me of the captivating effect her work first had on me, how far I’ve come and, most importantly, our beautiful friendship.”
How did your love for collecting art begin?
I think I was influenced by my teachers and mentors early on. I remember hanging out at my old Sacramento City College art teacher Kathy Noonan’s house and walking through room after room of art. Later, I rented a guesthouse from Chuck Miller, the co-owner of the old Michael Himovitz Gallery and co-founder of Second Saturday. They had a story to tell about each piece, and I was infatuated with that. I love that collecting art has become a sort of visual timeline of my own life—the places I’ve traveled, the people I’ve met and how my taste has evolved over the years.
What do you look for in a piece of art?
I look for art that makes me zoom in and ask questions. Is there a clear or obscure message? How did the artist do that? For me, whether it’s street art, abstract or more traditional, whether it’s loud, crazy, and complex or hyperclean and simplistic, a piece has to visually read like a beautifully written paragraph. And then, of course, I look into whether or not I can afford it.
Speaking of affording things, have you ever had art-buyer’s remorse?
There are so many expensive, piece-of-shit items that I regret buying—like my Ninja blender; what a joke that thing turned out to be. But there isn’t a single piece of art that I regret buying. Things we don’t truly need break over time or end up in a box in a back room. My collection will outlast me and will be passed down.
Fish linocus, Raphael Delgado
“I bought two, because I was going to give one away as a gift… but then I ended up just keeping both, Oops.”
How do you decide where to place your art?
Placing my art always happens at night with an open bottle of wine and a joint. I rotate it often, going between new acquisitions and older ones from storage. Simply moving pieces around can make my space feel brand new.