Artist Crae Washington wants to take “the categories, groups and titles that society gives you and break them.” That’s why it’s Smashed Label for his creative team. Washington, 37, feels his labels include “reliable son, mental patient, outcast and good friend,” which he wants to transform into “somebody that made it through adversity, persevered and made something out of an ugly situation.” He believes that “art is the best therapy I have” for his own adversity, which includes schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
He has training at the University of Delaware and the Art Institute of Boston but feels more of a free spirit as an artist. “My art is best described as loose, impulsive expression of anything I experience,” he says. You can see one of his messages at the Artist Ave Station, a co-working space in downtown Wilmington, where a mural says “Ignore all the noise. Block out the negativity. Do what you love.” More maxims appear on the Seventh Street bridge, Dead Presidents Pub & Restaurant and Harvest Christian Academy, all in Wilmington. In his Bear home, some sayings are so meaningful to him that they appear on more than canvas, such as “for the love of the art” and “creativity mined from chaos.”