Quay County Artisans: Michael Crane

By QCS Staff

Since moving to Tucumcari, New Mexico, three years ago, Michael Crane said many people have asked him: “‘Why here?’ as if no one would move to this little corner of the world on purpose.”
Well, Crane did move here “on purpose” he said. “I usually refer them to the unique opportunity offered by the foundry here and my lifelong desire to work in bronze, but there is so much more than that.”
Before here, Crane moved around a little. He was raised in Arkansas where his father painted baptismal scenes for small churches. Crane attended the Arkansas Governor’s School for the Gifted and Talented and Arkansas State University, he moved to Los Angeles, worked in Hollywood, then came back to Arkansas and, finally, to Tucumcari.
In Tucumcari, Crane and his wife, Charlotte, jointly work out of Raindance, where he is a hair stylist and his wife is a skin care technician.
It has been an emotional journey, Crane said.

Quay County Sun: What led you from one place to another?

Michael Crane: in Los Angeles, I spent countless hours on the freeway during the day, commuting to my job in Hollywood. My nights were spent in smoke-filled honkytonks trying to make a name for myself as a country and western singer.

Q: So you moved back to Arkansas?
Crane: My wife, Charlotte, and I met in Little Rock and for eight years we operated an upscale skin care and hair care salon.
At one point we had five employees and an extensive client base.

Q: So you enjoyed some success?
Crane: It felt like an all-consuming heavy burden to me. I was beginning to feel that I had only traded one rat race for another.
I came to resent allowing myself to become overwhelmed by my business responsibilities and neglecting an inner need to express myself “artistically.”

Q: So what did you do about it?
Crane: Psalm 118:5: ”Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.”
I was much too stressed at the time to notice that life itself is the artistic expression.
I couldn’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak. I needed a clearer view and, guess what?

Q: You tell me …
Crane: … the view from here is just right. Since making my home in Tucumcari, I’ve slowed down enough to realize that art isn’t just a painting to hang on the wall or a sculpture to set on a pedestal. It’s the attitude of joy, creativity and encouragement that we can bring to each moment.

Q: So your goal today is …
Crane: My goal as a person and an artist is to fully appreciate the sunrise and sunset and be grateful for all the opportunities waiting in between.

There have been many opportunities for the works in bronze, aluminum and iron that Michael describes as “an exploration of the relationships between form, emotion, and metaphor.”

Crane’s works have been shown in:
l The “Community Against Violence” juried show in Taos.
l “The Henry Gonzales Memorial Art Show” in Tucumcari 2006.
l He was a contributing artist for the CART! “Festival of Trees” in Little Rock 2005.
l He participated in “Out of the Ashes – an Iron Pour Against Sexual Violence” in Las Vegas, N.M. 2005.

Crane’s work is currently on exhibit at:
l Viorge Designs, Tucumcari
l Natalie Young, Los Angeles
l Ciao Baci, Little Rock, Ark.
l Gallery 26, Little Rock, Ark.