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Designer, Artist, Sculptor, Entrepreneur and serious Collector of anything Fun
Grew up in southern California. He attended California Institute of Arts studying theatre design while working as a world famous Disney character at Disneyland.
Expanding his creative experience, he went to London and spent a year doing independent study of the theatre that included dance. The high-light of this, was tap dancing in a big splashy production of “No No Nanette.”
Returning home he was hired for a series of Musicals at the Union Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas; before being cast in the ill fated Broadway bound “Winner Takes All.” This was the first pre-Broadway show in theater history to close on opening night in Boston.
However, this took him to New York City, where after becoming a starving artist, and paying his dues... he was eventually cast in the Broadway production of “Camelot” with Richard Burton, which made Broadway history... It was the first show ever to bring in over a million dollars a week. He then toured with Carol Channing in “Hello Dolly”, and “My Fair Lady” with film star Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Among other shows.
Expanding his interests and following his passions, he rode the crest of the art boom of the 1980’s by exploring and developing his talents for puppetry as an art form. This he called his “Original Sculptures by Van Craig.”
The Dyansen Gallery in SoHo mounted impressive high profile shows that featured his work and many of the shows selling out before opened.
Because of public interest, Dyansen expanded to many other Dyansen galleries around the country including Boston, New Orleans and Beverly Hills.
Van also developed a greeting card line featuring the beautiful photographs of his work by Chicago Photographer Malcolm Magri who did most of the stunning photography on this website.
Van’s “Original Sculpture” collector list includes, Demi Moore, Sally Fields, Richard Simmons, Dudley Moore, Jim Henson and Robin Williams, who purchased one as a gift for Whoopi Goldberg.
Just for fun, he was commissioned by Dyansen Gallery, to create one of his original sculptures of the legendary art deco designer ERTÉ. It was presented it to him for his 93rd birthday. Erté was also represented by the Dyansen Gallery.
It was such a huge success; it began a new phase of Craig's work which he referrers to as the “Celebrity Art Dolls”. Among the commissions included, Vanessa Williams and Anita Baker to name only a few.
Concurrently, Saks Fifth Ave. was looking for an artist to create celebrity lookalike characters for their Holiday Windows
“Christmas Scenes from Broadway Shows”.
Craig was in the right place at the right time.
He was hired to design and build fun caricatures of Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach, Gregory Hines, Barbara Cook and Donna McKechnie.
Many of them showed up for the star studded opening night of the unveiling of the Christmas Windows. The response was so overwhelming it began a relationship with Saks that would last more than a decade and a half.
Van Craig became part of the creative team of industry leader Spaeth Design, who designed and build the entire window projects.
As part of Spaeth design, Craig created and designed over the top figures and lavish costumes for Holiday windows that include Macy’s Herald Sq , Lord & Taylor, Henry Bendels, Marshall Fields State St, Nordstrom’s, Hudson Bay Co, Toronto and most recently DFS in Singapore.
Several of these became Industry award winners.
Prior to Regis Philbin's last season on TV, Craig built fun caricatures of Regis & Kelly, for the CBS Holiday Windows in New York City.
The two real life celebs unveiled them on their morning show, to a cheering national audience.
Another fun project, was being included as a costume designer for Mel Odem’s highly successful Gene Marshall Doll, and was a 1995 nominee for ‘Dolls of Excellence Award’ best costume design at the NYC International Toy fair.
He was invited to design Christmas ornaments for Kurt S. Adler where he created his Art Deco inspired dancing Girls, very popular full figured ladies and other imaginative characters which have continued for a decade.
Van and his “Pixiepyes” line, was recently featured on a very successful appearance on HSN. (Home Shopping Network)
Van Craig lives in New York City’s Theatre District, two blocks from where the famous New Years Eve ball drops.