Born and raised in Southern California, artist and printmaker, Bruce Crownover came to Madison to study printmaking at the UW-Madison’s renowned printmaking department. 1987, his first year in Madison, was the same year professor Bill Weege founded Tandem Press. Crownover and other students were invited by Weege to volunteer at Tandem Press to help him launch the printmaking studio. In 1989, two years after Tandem opened, Crownover earned his MFA in printmaking. Shortly thereafter, Crownover met Keiji Shinohara, a Japanese Ukiyo-e master printer, and was offered a job carving woodblocks for his studio, Cherrywood Press, in Boston.
Crownover traveled to Boston and worked for Shinohara creating prints for Sean Scully, Chuck Close, Robert Stackhouse and John Newman. These prints were executed in both Boston and New York.
In 1992, Crownover returned to Madison, opened an art studio of his own and was hired as a part time Associate Printer at Tandem Press. He also worked for Weege making paper at his studio, Off Jones Road, in Arena, WI. When not working at either Tandem or Off Jones Road, Crownover painted in his studio, primarily producing watercolor, pen and ink drawings and paintings. His paintings, drawings,
and encaustics on handmade paper have been shown in various galleries and venues throughout the area.
In 1994, Crownover became a full time printer at Tandem. In his years spent there, he became a close collaborator with many artists, most notably Sam Gilliam, Sam Richardson, Richard Bosman, Robert Cottingham, and Judy Pfaff. He honed his wood-carving, relief, and intaglio skills and became known for his range of printmaking techniques. In all there have been over seventy artists he has worked with
at Tandem Press including Phillip Pearlstein, Charles Arnoldi, Lynda Benglis, Karen Kunz, and Italo Scanga. Crownover, either directly or secondarily, was involved in creating and editing hundreds of their prints.
Bruce has also been a guest lecturer throughout the country in museums, colleges and universities, promoting Tandem Press and the mission of the School of Education at UW-Madison, working as a guest artist, and sharing his art experiences with others. Since 2009, along with artists Todd Anderson and Ian van Collier, Crownover began working on a documentary project entitled The Last Glacier. Through painting, photography, and printmaking, the fieldwork in the National Parks for this project captures a glimpse of the retreating glaciers of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park in Alberta, Canada, and Montana. Of the originally documented 150 glaciers, only 25 remain. Visit The Last Glacier to learn more about this multi-year, collaborative project that has resulted in large-scale, handmade books
with original art bound by Master Book Binder Rory Sparks.