Craig Hanna was born in 1967 in Cleveland, Ohio (united states). A New York painter by training, he studied at fine arts Syracuse university, then at the fine arts school of visual arts, before specializing at the New York academy of figurative art.
Craig Hanna exhibited for the first time in 1998 at Bergdorf Goodman in New York, where an entire floor is reserved for him.
he then exhibited in London, Hong Kong and Malta where he lived for a time. Selected in 2001 and 2006 for the bp portrait award from the national portrait gallery in London, he was awarded in 2001 for his work Carlos sitting on a clear plastic chair. Craig Hanna now lives in Paris, where he is permanently represented and exclusively by the Laurence Esnol gallery.
Craig Hanna draws and paints as if the photograph’s overburdening dominance of our visual data field didn’t matter, or didn’t exist. He has no truck with the de-skilled aesthetics of, say, Elizabeth Peyton or Karen Kilimnick, nor the banal, flattened, deadpan conventions of photo-based figurative painters like Gerhard Richter, Peter Doig or Luc Tuymans.
In less astute hands, the resulting work would be yet more empty, tired, retrograde classicism, a hodgepodge of ‘good’ draftsmanship, mannered techniques and familiar quotations drawn from a potted history of figurative representation.
Yet, while antecedents are visible in Hanna’s pictures, in both their contents and surfaces — Courbet, Whistler, Sargent, Schiele, Klimt, bacon and Freud come to mind — Hanna pushes past these to create vital works that are brashly contemporary and unmistakably his own.