This is the blog for, the art site of Ryan Callis. Here is where I post about influences, and the stories behind my art. To see the art that this blog refers to, visit

Thursday, July 30, 2015

ryanpicThis 2′ square fella, which is made up of oil, acrylic, and collage on canvas was gifted to my friend Tor, as a reminder to him to take it suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper easy and to remind him that it is indeed, o.k.
This painting came out very electric.  I took this 6′ x 4′ canvas and col’ rocked a countdown.  I call is “Ground Control To Major Tom”.  At the top there are 10 “lumps” and it counts down, 10, 9, 8, 7, etc. until it reaches the bottom and becomes that yellow figure at the bottom, 1.  It is done in oil and acrylic on canvas.
“Barak” is a new 4′ x 4′, oil and acrylic painting on canvas, that I just finished.  It is dedicated to my pal Barak whom I’ve been working with at MOCA for the last couple of months.
He is from Israel and moved here to get his MFA.  I asked him at one point how he spelled his name, and he told me and he told me that it meant “lightening”.  His namesake appears in the book of Judges in the Bible and his story is super good.  He mounts an army against a huge opposing army because God speaks to him through a prophetess.  Now, my Barak comes from Polish blood who came to Israel up new state hood and brought there secular, Bohemian, socialist ethos with them.  Cultural Jews who believed in the home state.  So Barak’s heritage as a Jew, and being named after a pillar of faith, has no bearing on his life.  This intrigued me.
So I started this piece by dropping the background way back and filling in the bars to support the triangles in which Barak is spelled out in Morse code.  I thought this a fun play since it is a dead language, much as Barak’s religious heritage is a dead language to him.  His lightning bolt is located in that star of David, which is surrounded by the red and green structure, much as Barak’s army was surrounded by enemies.  The red and green were used for there inherent boldness as colors, but also because Israel’s enemies in the story were land and blood thirsty.
I love the messed up balance in this piece.  Barak is messed up and balanced too so it fits his personality.
DSC_430214″ x 14″, oil and acrylic on canvas, 2013
12″ x 12″, oil and acrylic on canvas, 2013

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