Greg Simkins was born in 1975 in Torrance California, just south of Los Angeles. He grew up with a menagerie of animals including a number of rabbits, which often emerge in his paintings. He began drawing at the early age of three and was inspired by various cartoons and books. Some standout books that still find their way into his art are Watership Down by Richard Adams, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.
Simkins’ art continued to progress to the age of 18, when he started doing graffiti under the name “CRAOLA”. Graffiti art became his impetus for creating and gave him the confidence to paint large works. In addition it taught him perspective, color theory and further developed artistic skills, which later translated into his work with acrylics.
After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art from California State University of Long Beach in 1999, Simkins worked as an Illustrator for various clothing companies. He later moved on to Treyarch/Activision where he worked on video games including Tony Hawk 2X, Spiderman 2 and Ultimate Spiderman while attempting to paint with every free moment he had.
In 2005, Simkins pursued his desire to paint as a full time artist. Since then, he has been featured in numerous group exhibitions has had successfully sold out solo exhibitions. His art is seen in a wide variety of industries from clothing to video games and has also come to life in the form of toys. His client/collaboration list includes Disney, Mattel, Upper Playground, Juxtapoz, To Die For, Vans, Converse, AFI, Saosin, Gym Class Heroes, Pennywise, STRANGEco, Ningyoushi, Kid Robot, Zero Friends, Epitaph, Dark Horse, Iron Fist and Pulse International.
It is his careful weaving of pop culture, the old masters, nature, carnival kitsch, and (most importantly) his warped imagination, that makes Greg Simkins a sought-after surrealist painter today. Simkins’ artwork currently appears in galleries throughout the world.
Designed Toy Releases
These are toys designed by Craola.
Toy Series Participation
These are toys Craola has lent his design skills to.
- Dunny - 3" "Claude from the Pod Dunny Red" for DesignerCon series, 2018
- Dunny - 3" "Claude from the Pod Dunny Black" for DesignerCon series, 2018
- Dunny - 3" "Bunyip" for Dunny City Cryptid Series, 2018
- The Canmans - 8" Craola edition, 2011
- Omi - "The Cowl", Omi Series 1, 2011
- Omi - "The Cowl" chase, Omi Series 1, 2011
- Vivisect Playset - 3" Scurvy Nevil, Brown, Special Edition 2009
- Vivisect Playset - Ledkins, Blue, with Joe Ledbetter, Special Edition, 2009
- Vivisect Playset - 3" Scurvy Nevil, Black, 2008
- Vivisect Playset - 3" Scurvy Nevil, Chase White, 2008
- Vivisect Playset - Ledkins, with Joe Ledbetter, 2008
- Ningyo Project - 8" Gosho Doll, 2008
- Circus Punk - 15", 50 pieces, 2008
- Dunny - 3" Series 3, 2006
- Dunny - 3" Series 3 Chase, 2006
- Mini Circus Punk - 6" "Craomonsta 280" Mini Punk Series 2, 2006
These are one-off pieces by Craola.
- Piece(s) for Tiny Trifecta, 2013
- Piece(s) for Tiny Trifecta, 2012
- "8-bit is Dead" for the Old School Video Game Show, 2011
- Piece(s) for Tiny Trifecta, 2011
- "The Elil And Fu Inle" for Inle, 2011
- Buff Monster Series - Custom for The Monster Within show, 2010
- Piece(s) for the Crazy4Cult show, 2009
- Custom Hot Wheels VW Bus for the Toys show, 2008
- Piece(s) for Gag Me With a Toon, 2008
- Piece(s) for Vivisect Playset Show, 2008
- Piece(s) for Vivisect Playset Show, 2007
- Piece(s) for I am 8-Bit, 2007
- "Ed's Losing" for Crazy4Cult, 2007
- "Gepetto’s Dilemma" for Remixing the Magic, 2006
- Piece(s) for Vivisect Playset Show, 2006
- Piece(s) for The Chubby Bunny Show, 2006
- Circus Punk - custom for Out of Vogue, 2006
- Piece(s) for I am 8-Bit, 2006
- Munny - custom for Munny Show LA, 2005
- Piece(s) for I am 8-Bit, 2005
- Circus Punks - custom for 100 Circus Punks Rule NYC, 2005
- Custom spraycan for Canceptual, 2002