Craig Stocks Arts Fine Art Photography and Artwork Duplication Services in Peoria and Central Illinois

Craig Stocks' Resume

After working in the newspaper and studio businesses for several years, I chose to leave professional photography in 1977 to pursue a career as a mechanical engineer. Over the years, I retained my interest in photography, and the advent of digital processing rekindled my passion.  I was able to retire at the beginning of 2009 and began an encore career in photography with an emphasis on fine art large scale landscape and abstract figure photography.

I'm also active in the local Central Illinois arts community. I am an active volunteer member of the ArtsPartners of Central Illinois marketing committee and I am currently helping organize the Central Illinois Artist Organization 1st annual CIAO Art Experience and Exhibition as part of the 2014 Ignite Peoria arts celebration (  I also publish the Playing Peoria website where I feature photos and stories about local artists and entertainers.

I've been fortunate to be able to work with the U.S. National Park Service. In 2009, I served as an Artist in Residence / volunteer photographer at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Southern Arizona, and in 2010, I served part time as a volunteer photographer for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco. For 2011, I've been selected as one of two Artists in Residence at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin. It's a great way to support the National Park system while doing something I love.

Craig Stocks' Artist Statement

I have a passion to create
, and I'm fascinated with the tools and technologies of creativity.I strive to produce images that are graphically simple, technically precise and vibrantly colored in order to render beautiful photographic fine art prints.

I'm old fashioned in that I still believe that the purpose of photography is to produce a finished print. There's nothing wrong with digital images that are viewed online, but there's something special about a beautifully produced print. It's something you can touch, and it doesn't need any special technology to be enjoyed. Small prints can be passed around or bound into albums. Large prints can be framed as wall art.

I'm modern in that I have fully embraced digital technology in my photo art, and Photoshop is now an indispensable part of my creative process. Besides having a completely digital workflow, I also designed and built this website, and I dabble in website design as well as PHP and Java script programming.

I'm independent in that I like to do things myself. While many photographers have outsourced retouching and printing, I like to perform each step in the creative process. I've invested in high quality professional printers in order to produce state of the art prints up to 44 by 72 inches. I also do my own matting and framing and produce my own large canvas gallery wraps.

I enjoy learning and sharing. Continuing to learn is one of the most exciting aspects of any hobby, and the rapid pace of change in photography provides a wealth of learning opportunities. I also enjoy sharing what I've learned over the years. That has led to a number of photography and Photoshop tutorials on this website. I've also been able to provide training and coaching both one on one and in small groups.

Want to know more about me? Check the following links:

I was recently featured by WTVP-TV for their series on "Illinois: Art in the Works"


Feature article about me in the Peoria, Illinois Journal Star

Article written by me and my wife for Health Care Traveler Magazine

Layers Magazine winner in "How Photoshop CS4 Saved the Day" contest

My complete Personal Vita is available here in PDF format

Xanadu Gallery Studio Artists



I got started in photography in 1970 in a work/study program while a senior in high school. Then, in late 1971, I started working as a staff photographer at the Pekin Daily Times. It was a great place to learn and practice. We had daily assignments to hone our skills. We had the time to experiment. We did all sorts of photo assignments - portrait-style head shots, advertising products and interiors, posed groups, sports, aerials, and of course, news.

Apparently, we were somewhat ahead of our time as well. Today, there are numerous books and websites encouraging photographers to learn about lighting. Most importantly, to learn to use off-camera strobes. Well, we were doing that on a daily basis in the 1970's. I carried four strobes with me to every assignment, and learned to pre-visualize how they were going to light the subject - without the benefit of an LCD on the back of the camera.

In 1975, I went to work for a school portrait studio. The pay was better, but the work was very repetitive. Even doing senior portraits was based on a formula. It didn't take long to get burned out doing the same thing every day.

By the late 1970's, I was married and ready for a change. I went back to school, got a degree in mechanical engineering, and went to work for Caterpillar Inc. During my career at Caterpillar, I worked in a variety of planning and manufacturing management roles, including Planning Supervisor, Plant Technical Services Manager and Plant Manager. I was fortunate to be able to retire after 30 years and go back to the artistic pursuits I had loved when I was younger.

As illustrated in the composite below, I have a variety of creative outlets. I also enjoy music, metal artwork, and the great outdoors. You can read more about my artwork in an article published in the Peoria Journal Star.

Aspects of our lives