Artist Biography - A J Callan
Callan grew up in Glasgow in the 1960’s; a period known for Carnaby Street and the Beatles, the artists childhood was surrounded by the new confidence and optimism felt at the time. Constantly inspired by new ideas, sounds and fashions, Callan was encouraged to let his imagination run free, immersing himself in art from a young age. His creative mother encouraged his interest i...n art, and Callan was just as happy sitting with a drawing pad for hours as he was playing football with his brothers.
Callan was totally fixated on painting during his education; he often forgot to come home on time after becoming totally engrossed in a painting at school. After leaving school, Callan progressed to Art College and spent 5 years studying both fine art and graphic design. Afterwards he entered the world of commercial advertising, however this did not entirely fulfill his passion for fine art.
After pursuing his passion for experimenting with new materials and subject matter in his free time, Callan made an important decision to pack up his day job and committed himself to following his creative dreams. In 2005, Callan became a full-time artist and has never looked back! Since then his published and original works have sold worldwide to collectors and are displayed in many galleries.
Early inspirations are wide and varied. From seeing the Yellow Submarine animation as a child, to his fascination with Leonardo Da Vinci’s thirst for knowledge and technical ability Callan is inspired by the boundaries of the imagination. Other influences include, Charles Renee Mackintosh’s uniquely romantic approach to his artworks and Joseph Wright for his stunning mastery of lighting. Callan aspires to create pieces, which generate warmth within the viewer, to mirror his own emotions, which come from creating artwork.
Callan’s work combines the real and the imaginary, taking inspiration from every day situations by taking mental snapshots of inanimate and animate subjects. He frequently brainstorms to produce masses of rough sketches in short energetic bursts, and is amazed at how many of these snapshots often resurface in his sketches.
Callan is a positive person by nature and a complete optimist, personality traits, which are transparent in his work. The artist states his wine glass is always half full and is often enjoyed during his frequent brain storming sessions!
The artist admits going through a range of emotions when working on a new piece. Excitement can quickly lead to anxiety and fear as the illustration starts to build, but Callan relies on his experience and confidence to see his pieces through, trusting his instincts. The artist takes short periods of time way from his work during production, in order to keep his view fresh and objective. The final piece often results in exhilaration when he finds his vision has come to life on the canvas.
Callan’s work is innocent and naive, stressing childish form with interesting perspective. Working in acrylics and pastels, he adds drama by use of strong lighting and a carefully selected palette. Often his subjects are purposely disproportionate, making for interesting pieces. Callan's paintings and sculptures are beautifully composed, through his use of the rule of thirds used in any image-based discipline. The artist’s optimism and warmth are reflected in his playful artworks, and emotions the artist wishes to evoke from viewers.