Artist with an Eye for Equipment

September 28, 2010

Craig Slaff Painting
Artist Craig Slaff draws on his operator's experience to produce realistic painting of construction equipment.

With a family background in construction, it seemed only natural that Craig Slaff would follow suit. But Slaff had a bent for art. He earned a degree in Fine Arts, but needed another job to subsidize his artistic efforts. He became a heavy-equipment operator because the winters off gave him time to paint. He remained an operator for 16 years.

Today, Slaff works out of his northern New Jersey home and studio full-time, but his years working in construction have inspired him to paint many construction-oriented pictures.

In 2000, Slaff was prepared to paint a mural featuring historic earthmoving equipment at the headquarters of Operating Engineers Local 825. The mural was to consist of the New York skyline, starting at the Westside of the island featuring 1914-era equipment and ending with the World Trade Center representing today's modern machines.

But before Slaff could begin, 9/11 happened. So Slaff scrapped the mural and instead painted eight paintings for the union's offices, five of which carried a patriotic theme inspired by 9/11. Slaff is reproducing the paintings in limited canvas prints, which look identical to the originals, as well as paper prints. His work can be viewed at his website,