Born in 1952, figurative painter Fred Crayk was raised in Malta and Northern Scotland. Crayk began studying painting in Paris in 1971 and went on to receive degrees from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Edinburgh College of Art. Throughout the 1990s, Crayk was the recipient of several artist residencies, including one at the Glasgow School of Art and another at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris. Since 1978, Crayk has exhibited his work in Paris, Chicago, Rome, Brussels and throughout the United Kingdom. Over the course of his career, Crayk has been the recipient of the Greenshields Foundation Artist's Award, the Scottish Arts Council's Major Award, the Modern Painter's Magazine Prize and the Abbey Award in Painting from the Royal Academy's British School in Rome. His work is held in public and private collections across the globe, including but not limited to the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Ruth Borchard Collection acquired Crayk's self-portrait The Seventh Last Word in 2012.
Crayk's work explores the intricacies of the human form. Crayk views his body of work as falling into two distinct categories: the abstract and the traditional. The former is inspired by 1950s and 60s anti-narrative painting in America, while the latter responds to titans of the western canon such as Titian, Tintoretto and Baroque painters Caravaggio, Velazquez and Poussin.
Crayk's self-portrait The Seventh Last Word articulates the corporeality of the human body, exploring the connection between the materiality of oil paint and the body itself. In doing so, Crayk explores the themes of history, religion and philosophy.