Craig Pady was first exposed to the world of visual arts while attending public school in Toronto, Ontario. Raised in Don Mills, Craig had his first taste of success in the visual arts milieu when his work ‘The Baron’ won a competition and was displayed in shopping centres across Canada.
But Craig’s love for music soon trumped his passion for the pictorial, and he began studying the trumpet while at high school. As his high school career evolved, the tenor saxophone replaced the trumpet as his instrument of choice, and soon after graduation, he was playing in reggae bands around Toronto.
His father, Larry Pady an Art Director at a number of Toronto ad agencies, was, according to Craig, the greatest jazz fan on the planet, and the sounds would fill the home. Young Craig, adolescent Craig, and adult Craig were all frequently exposed to the likes of Oscar Peterson, Mile Davis, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, and many, many others. He would often look at the album covers, reading the liner notes, while the music played. You could say that he could not help but be influenced – and educated – by this wonderful revelation, brought to him by his late father.
His Mother Michele was a self taught artist. She had a loom in the house and could be found sitting at it like an organ weaving blankets, hammocks and all kinds of crafts. She said the colours just came naturally to her.
Later, as a musician playing the Toronto circuit, he spent many hours in bars, clubs and sound studios, surrounded by fellow enthusiasts, musicians, engineers and producers. But Craig never completely eschewed the visual arts. When time could be spared, the hours were spent in the studios of sculptors, photographers, illustrators and painters.
When you consider all of the above influences, the fact that Craig would fall – no, jump – into a world of music combined with visual arts is no surprise at all.
While attending York University, Craig started a weekly radio show called What is Hip, which focuses on Jazz for the first half of the show, then shifts to more of a lounge mix in the second. Fast forward to today and, 22 years later, the show is still going strong, emitting its stone groove energy from the University of Toronto radio station CIUT 89.5 FM.
In the late 1990s Craig – aka DJ GOLDFINGER – hooked up a residency at The College St Bar, one of the hottest bars at the time. His tenure there would last for more than 5 years. During that time he spun regularly at many other well-known venues in Toronto, and later in New York City.
In 2000 he formed a band called the Soul Jazz Express, which was hired by Carlsberg to back a a series of promotional events. They followed up with a self-titled album called Soul Jazz Express. Their song Couple a Brownies has been streamed more than 1.3 million times. More recently the band has been playing events and backyard jazz parties (which, according to Craig, are more fun than the events).
Craig is known for his passion and very intense reaction to music. And recently, when he put his pen back to paper after an extended hiatus, he noticed that the sounds he heard were driving his pen. Then evolution took over and soon thereafter, he shifted his medium to paints and canvasses.
His approach is unique in the sense that he literally paints the music he hears by allowing the brush to follow the notes as they are being played. The sounds that drive this unique method of creation are often emanating from his extensive vinyl collection. It is something you have to see – and hear – to truly understand.