The artist creates from those notions which are a part of his or her existential situation. This is the case with street and urban artist Ryan Callanan aka RYCA, whose work is heavily influenced by two incentives: his passion for collecting toys, which had begun when his uncle handed him down his Star Wars toy collection in 1989 and the rave culture, since the artist’s father was involved in the scene when the artist was eight years old. All of this is part of life and work of Ryan Callanan and his newest exhibition 8 Forever…
The Art of Ryan Callanan aka RYCA
Ryan Callanan is an artist with a rich and diverse background in technical knowledge. He works on printmaking, graphics and has been trained in industrial model making and 3D design (read more about urban artists who are involved in virtual reality work in our feature Urban Art’s Virtual Reality). Callanan has worked on symbolism which is closely related to the acid house rave culture in the 1980s. He has been articulating the smiley face symbol with the style usually associated with traditional pub signs. This creative process of recontextualizing rendered Callanan’s skill level to reach higher levels of finesse, thus ameliorating his career in the sign making industry. Callanan is an active street artist, creating visually challenging imagery. Possibly the greatest source of inspiration for the artist is reflected in the concept of the cross-reference: by “ripping out” one element from its context, he places it in another, articulating a new, yet familiar, body of symbolic meaning. Thus, by the power of recognizable imagery, the artist conveys a shifted meaning. This is most notably used in the artist particular aesthetics when it comes to the pub sign style.
8 Forever is a representation of two new bodies of work by Ryan Callanan aka RYCA, which will be presented in two galleries in two cities – Ink-D Gallery in Brighton and Lawrence Alkin Gallery in London. The title of the exhibition already conveys the initial incentives behind the artwork – it is a reference to the artist’s formative influences at the age of eight, cross-referenced with growing up in the cultural period of the 1980s. Throughout the work, the images of actual examples of toys, which the artist collected at eight years old, are recurring and represent a central symbolic meaning of the artwork. At the Ink-D Gallery, in the period between October 11th and November 9th 2014, the body of work which will be showcased is achieved by a brand new technique called Pressure Painting. The artist places iconic figures of popular culture and his childhood – He-Man, Darth Vader and the Mutant Ninja Turtles – under extreme pressure, creating fused distortions of the characters.