Angie Crabtree is an artist and designer whose paintings offer a rigorous study of light and optics, approaching the subject matter as portraiture of modern day relics for a world that loves beautiful trophies. Her work uses precious gemstones as a means to unpack the psychology and allure of luxury culture.
Using oil paint, she creates magnified portraits of real gemstones. Her most well-known commissions include “The Pink Promise” diamond and Chopard’s massive 342 carat “Queen of Kalahari” diamond. Angie painted her first diamond — at 5 feet tall — in 2012 for her exhibition, “Living the Dream.” Inspired by the success of her first big exhibition and the abstract patterns, Angie continues to dig deeper into our perception of excess, wealth and luxury.
Growing up in Northern California, Crabtree found crystals and minerals on walks with her gold mining grandfather, quickly learning about what society agrees are some of the world’s most valuable objects.
She began creating art vigorously from a young age, and by age 12 she began teaching professionally. She was diagnosed with juvenile Type 1 Diabetes, so art became her escape from managing health complications. Later, she was diagnosed with a debilitating autoimmune disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis. Despite her physical struggles, she graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2009, and attended the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Post college, she juggled her time at artists residencies, exhibitions, and teaching art at various San Francisco schools, and the San Francisco Juvenile Hall. By 2015, she began painting fulltime, receiving large commissions by both corporate and private collectors worldwide. The demand for her work continues to rise, with instagram serving as her main exhibition space. She says “I’m living my dream: painting gems is an extension of my childhood fascination with crystals, kaleidoscopes and colors.”