Craig Atkinson

Craig Atkinson


School of Art, Design and Fashion

Hanover Building, HR202

+44 (0) 1772 89 3954

Subject Areas: Fine Art, Illustration, Photography, Publishing and Art and Design

Craig's practice involves documenting places, spaces, people and situations, generally by drawing or using photography. He works as a fine artist, exhibiting work internationally. An illustrator, working for clients such as The New York Times, Adidas, and GQ. In 2005 he founded Café Royal Books; a publishing house that specialises in collaborating with artists to produce short-run publications. These publications are collected by Tate Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and MoMA amongst others.

Craig is research active within the area of art and design: history, theory and practice. He is a member of Collaborative Engagements.


Full Profile

Craig Atkinson's background is Fine Art painting. Having made 'white paintings' for a decade, exhibiting internationally and alongside John Hoyland, John McLean and Maurice Cockrill for example; in 2004 Atkinson returned to drawing. Working commercially for The New York Times, Adidas Originals, Orange, GQ, Esquire, YCN amongst others. Atkinson's practice at the time involved exhibiting his drawings in ways that didn't rely on 'the gallery'.

In 2005 he founded Café Royal Books, a publishing house designed to exhibit and disseminate his work. To-date he has published over 350 titles, collaborating with many artists, designers and photographers. His photographic series which attempts to create 'a new history of British photography' (Daniel Meadows, Photobook Bristol 2015), has been collected and cited internationally. Atkinson's work and publications are held in the special collections of MoMA New York, V&A / National Art Library, Tate Gallery, National Gallery of Canada, and many public, private and educational libraries and collections.

Atkinson, as Café Royal Books, publishes one book every week. Both drawing and photographic. The first 100 titles from the archive were recently displayed at The Photographers' Gallery, London and The Tetley, Leeds. Café Royal Books was voted one of the most interesting publishing houses of 2015, and has been discussed as, 'creating an important collection of much forgotten archive photography' (Martin Parr, Bristol, 2015).

Café Royal Books also curates an annual project, which generally uses a gallery space as a project space; or for something other than exhibiting work. Temporary Library, 2012, International Drawing Project, 2013, Index 2014 for example.

MA (Distinction) Fine Art, University of Central Lancashire, 2007

BA(Hons) Fine Art, Leeds Metropolitan University, 1999


The Cheltenham Illustration Award Symposium 2010


Association of illustrators, corporate member

External Activities

Craig Atkinson

Cafe Royal Books


Facebook (Cafe Royal Books)


Atkinson, Craig (2008) Cafe Royal Publishing House 2005 - 2012. Cafe Royal Books.

Atkinson, Craig (2010) Projections to Magazine library. [Show/Exhibition]

Atkinson, Craig (2010) Café Royal Books pop-up library: How can gallery spaces be used for other purposes than exhibitions? [Show/Exhibition]

Atkinson, Craig (2011) Grab the Uranium. Knust's Work Holiday/Art Prison Series . Cafe Royal Books, Lancashire, UK.

More publications


Lecturer in Fine Art, Drawing and Image Making

Lecturer in Illustration

Module Leader

Personal Tutor


Café Royal Books Temporary Library.

The International Drawing Project.

Various workshops in collaboration with Tate Gallery.


Artists Publications / Publishing

Developing existing spaces [physical, print and web] for use as new and novel platforms from which to disseminate art.

Ways a publication can exhibit, document, display, collect and disseminate information.

How can galleries and other places be utilised as live project spaces for influential events other than exhibitions; encouraging new audiences and new ways of thinking?