Golem by Warren Criswell
Mitchell Pluto
3 min

Dark Eroticism from Warren Criswell

3 min

Eye of the Storm

Warren Criswell was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, in 1936 during hurricane season and has lived in Arkansas since 1978. Criswell is not only a self-taught painter but a skilled printmaker, sculptor, and animator. His artistic journey has taken him across borders, with 51 solo exhibitions in the United States and one in Taiwan. His work has appeared in 73 group exhibitions, taking place in cities such as New York, Atlanta, and Washington DC, as well as countries like Germany and Taiwan. Criswell’s daughter Kae Barron is a painter. After a stroke in 2020, Criswell has been training his right hand to paint.

Golem by Warren Criswell

Fig 1. Golem 1997

Oracle painting by Golem by Warren Criswell

Fig 2. Oracle Painting

Oracle painWarren Criswell erotic

Fig 3.

Ulysses at Circle by Warren Criswell

Fig 4. Ulysses at Circle

On the Road

In a 2006 Arkansas Times publication titled “Spotlight: Warren Criswell,” writer Jessica Crenshaw talked about Warren Criswell’s disappointment with the gallery scene in Florida. This frustration pushed Criswell to choose a nomadic lifestyle in the 1970s. While traveling by bus and exploring the roads with his family, their journey changed when the bus broke down in Arkansas. Benton, Arkansas,became their home after they bought land there. Criswell worked as a surveyor, but also enjoyed writing and wanted to write a novel about the melting of the polar ice caps and the effects of a catastrophic flood. By settling down, Criswell could pursue his passion for painting.

erotic painting by Warren Criswell

Fig 5

white socks by Warren Criswell

Fig 6. White Socks 1999

Haley on the Pole From the Oscar Wilde sketchbook

Fig 7. Haley on the Pole From the Oscar Wilde sketchbook


The first artworks Criswell submitted to the Cantrell Art Gallery in Little Rock were photorealistic watercolors. Their vibrant colors and lifelike quality made them extremely popular. However, in 1983, Criswell’s work took a darker turn and explored more melancholy themes. Many of his collectors abandoned him. This trying time provided him with the chance to not only plunge into the works of western masters like Rembrandt but also understand the technique of grinding dry pigments to create his own paint. Criswell’s true love turned out to be beeswax and oil during this period.

Drawings from the French Quarter Tipping Kali by Warren Criswell

Fig 8. Drawings from the French Quarter Tipping Kali

Drawings from the French Quarter Shari Selecting Songs by Warren Criswell

Fig 9. Drawings from the French Quarter Shari Selecting Songs

In the extended Premium edition of the article you can find more on the "anxious realism" vision of important art critics on Criswell's paintings, Criswell as the Degas of the strip joint, the essay The Narcissistic Sinner: Warren Criswell’s Pictures, an analysis of his important painting The Question, and more images of his dark erotica.

You can find a fascinating interview with the artist by Jessica Crenshaw on the following page.

Click HERE for an article on Stanislav Krawczyk's dark art journey of agony and beauty

What do you think about Warren Criswell's dark eroticism? Leave your reaction in the comment box below...!!