Angie Crabtree is a contemporary painter whose current body of work uses precious gemstones as a means to unpack the psychology and allure of luxury culture. Diamonds and gemstones come from nature and are then recut by human hands—this collaboration between human and nature yields what society collectively agrees on as some of our most valuable objects. Inspired by the great masters, particularly the dynamic opulence and light from the Baroque period, Crabtree’s work offers a rigorous study of light and optics and how these formal characteristics of painting are intertwined with our perception of excess, wealth and luxury. The artist approaches the subject matter as portraiture for modern day relics or artifacts that serve to extend the object’s legacy while also reflecting the cultural anthropology of our time.
Using oil paint, she creates magnified portraits of real gemstones. Her most well-known commissions include the 14.93-carat Pink Promise diamond and Chopard’s 342-carat Queen of Kalahari diamond. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Art in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute. Angie painted her first diamond — at 5 feet tall — in 2012 for an art exhibition about materialism & luxury. Inspired by their abstract patterns, she began collecting images of diamonds and speaking with gem cutters. Without any prior knowledge of gemology, Angie fell in love with their symmetrical patterns and began painting every shape, one by one.
FROM TEACHING TO PAINTING
THE LOVE OF PAINTING IS STRONG
Originally a high school art teacher for 7 years, Angie quit her position in 2015 to pursue an art career. Her work was quickly discovered by the jewelry industry via Instagram, and she was invited to paint at a gem show in 2016. She now spends every day doing what she loves.
Angie works with private clients and corporate companies worldwide who share a mutual appreciation for beautiful gems.