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Meet Clockwork Cros, the surrealist artist making the LES relevant again

clockwork cros

Artist Clockwork Cros has a lot of time on his hands. Literally. Straight out of the LES, Crosby creates iconic timepieces with the faces of controversial actors, artists, and athletes.

His art is an expression of himself to the world and Crosby draws inspiration from what he considers classic New York street smarts and artists who have reached a level of public notoriety like Warhol, Haring, Basquiat, and Salvador Dali.

Crosby’s collection of clocks plays off of art history, mixing surrealism and pop culture to manufacture unique timepieces. So, what makes Clockwork Cros tick? Kulture Hub caught up with the post-post-modern clockmaker to find out.

Crosby matured alongside his NYC neighborhood in the LES. His childhood witnessed the end of a drug kingdom and the beginning of a gentrified society. His parents are artists and were very active in their neighborhood, fighting for the homeless in Tompkins Square Park (aka Tent City).

Clockwork’s activist parents and transitional LES habitat is what inspired the clock king to sell art.

Artist Clockwork Cros told us about that inspiration,

“The LES is a big part of my identity and I’ve been told I have the bohemian torch to bear. So, I take it as a responsibility to represent that to the best of my ability. I mean, I still love how it influenced me, even if my hood doesn’t mean the same thing anymore.”

It wasn’t an easy come up for Crosby and as for any young starving artist, sometimes proved difficult. Can you imagine not knowing when the next payday will come or where you’re going to crash for the night? Clockwork Crosby can.

Through the strenuous periods, Crosby always stayed optimistic and focused on his work. He compared his work ethic to baseball where, “you never know when that home run will come, but it won’t happen if you’re not swinging. I’m just out here swinging away and it’s hitting so it’s just a matter of time until I get that home run.”

You can see the survivalist passion in his work as creating art is not some “regular job.”

For Cros, it’s what he does to survive.

Cros’ wall clock collections are unmatched. He puts a little touch of his personality into the pieces he creates. He places double cut images of celeb faces and digital working clock movements on the eye of each unforgettable face in history.

The icons he selects for his clocks are to serve as an inspiration for the people who purchase them.

“My clocks aren’t supposed to mean the same thing to me as they do for the person who owns it. Everyone has a different inspiration and I always tell people, ‘You are not gonna buy a clock that inspires me. You want one who inspires you on your wall in your home.'”

Crosby added,

“So, people aren’t buying a clock because I’m poppin’, they are buying a clock because who ever they buy represents something they want to look at and inspire to be. I’m in over 3000 homes at this point and I wouldn’t be if I made people buy who I wanted them to. The clocks are for my people to grow and become better, in whatever sense they want. I think that’s the beauty of it.”

Beautiful indeed.

Crosby had a message for the youth dem – don’t be afraid to create something positive.

Crosby’s gorgeous collections of clocks also include collaborations with LES staple Mikey Likes It Ice Cream and Lola Jiblazee.

Mikey is the homie. The two have been down for more than a decade. Crosby and his crony used to plot and scheme into the late of the night thinking of ways to create art that would make waves in the industry. The artistic pair has done a clock of the month for three years straight.

The Mikey Likes It Ice Cream clock collaboration looks like something out of Salvador Dali’s famous painting The Persistence of Memory with a touch of melting ice cream.

Clocks bear melting facial images of important people from pop culture like Mr.T, Jimi Hendrix, and Frida Kahlo.

Cros’ Paragon collaboration with Jiblazee is colorfully different. Each icon used for a clock face is splashed with a matchless color wave. A purple Stevie Wonder and a yellow Basquiat with polka-dotted hair give off that abstract vibe.

Jiblazee is like a sister to Crosby. Their collaboration was one of the first experiences he had working with another artist who had their own interpretation of the faces for the clocks.

Cros told us about working with Jiblazee on their collection saying,

“The Paragon collection is a collaboration between me and Lola Jiblazee from the Republic of Georgia. It’s one of my first series working with another artist. We did an interoperation of faces for the clocks.”

They took their work beyond the LES down to Art Basel in Miami,

“We have shown together in a couple of group shows and she is like my sister. So, we did this series for Art Basel last year. We sold the whole collection to a gallery in Miami which was dope!”

Besides clocks, Crosby’s artistic talents have made it to the Brooklyn Museum and Prospect Park for The Connective Project, which celebrates Prospect Park’s 150th Anniversary.

The Yellow Warblers piece Cros submitted displays four Yellow Warbler birds on a black and yellow pinwheel design.

The Yellow Warbler is one of many species known to chill in the park.

Any Prospect Park goer will know the Warbler for its fire chirping bars. Crosby looked to late poet Maya Angelou for his artist statement for the piece, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

What’s next for artist Clockwork Cros? The Clock King told us “More shows, more art, more everything. And some music, but that time will come.”

But what is his inspiration to keep going? The LES is artist Clockwork Cros’ secret ingredient to his motivation. As a leader in a new renaissance of the classic NYC neighborhood, he’s gonna keep pushing the envelope and putting it on for the lower.