Since the 1980s, Cran has received acclaim for paintings that integrate aspects of pop culture while also provoking questions about the nature of perception and of art. One of his characteristic motifs is the use of brightly coloured screenprinted faces that evoke techniques of graphic design and abstraction as well as ones of fine art and figuration.
A major survey of Cran’s work is currently in development by National Gallery of Canada curator Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Art Gallery of Alberta curator Catherine Crowston and Southern Alberta Art Gallery curator Ryan Doherty. It is due to launch in 2016. His work was also included in the 2012 Canadian Biennial and the 2013 Alberta Biennial.
The Doug and Lois Mitchell Outstanding Calgary Artist Award was established to honour artists who are lauded for their work in the national and/or international arenas and choose to make Calgary their home. In addition to a $5,000 cash prize, Cran receives a residency at the Banff Centre.
Other winners at the Mayor’s Lunch for Arts Champions included video artist and activist Sharon Stevens, who won the William MacLachlan Community Beacon Award, and Colombian-born painter Roberto Rozo, who won the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society New Canadian Artist Award.
A release stated that all of these awards are decided by a jury of peers.