Look Up Gospel Choir Blog

This is the blog for lookupgospelchoir.com, 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 www.lookupgospelchoir.com.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

A little pick up work I did on a record cover for a long forgotten and now re-released compilation on Blue Note Records.......

Thursday, August 24, 2017

These works on paper are from 2008 when I was adjunct teaching right out of grad school and maybe not in the best emotional and spriritual place.  I was commuting a lot and kind of fantasizing about a do over in Los Angeles.  A big flood to wash it all away and to return it to what it was like in the not so distant past......

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"Boogie Stop Shuffle"
12" x 12"
Oil and Acrylic on Canvas

One of many of this last years' wave paintings

 "Better Git It In Yer Soul"
12" x 9"
Oil and Acrylic on Paper

One of many of this last years' wave paintings

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Gospel Song, 2013, 12″ x 12″, acrylic and oil and a lot of brain stretching on canvas…


Gospel Song, 2013, 12″ x 12″, acrylic and oil on canvas…
newbie4Gospel Song, 2013, 12″ x 12″, oil and acrylic on canvas…


12″ x 8″, oil and acrylic on canvas board, 2013
24″ x 18″, acrylic and oil, on my old tshirt over panel, 2013

Installation shots of a recent show that I did with my dad (his work is not featured in these pictures but it’s good stuff) downtown Los Angeles.
14″ x 14″, acrylic and oil on canvas, 2013

YES!!!!  I finally finished this 6′ x 4′ monster explosion of oil and acrylic on canvas.  I am stoked on this piece as I feel that it is the sun that all of my recent smaller abstractions orbit around.  They are all based on systems set up on the Biblical account found in Matthew 22:37-40.  Look (it) Up!!!!

 I have had this image for years.  I had found it on google while on a caffeine induced rabbit hole search while on break during my afternoon adjunct teaching stint.  I really liked the feet soaking in water.  So I painted it and added my own Matisse funk to it.
16″ x 24″, oil and acrylic on canvas.

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Email comes from Switzerland from lady who buys some pieces and wants me to do a piece for her Italian born, Swiss beau.  Stoked I am.  I ask her some questions about him, she answers and sends pictures.  So my approach to this after some sketches and thought, was to make this more abstract then figurative, and to use every detail that she gave me about her fella, to generate the image.
She said he was a humble fellow which made me think that he would not be pumped on a giant painting of himself over his couch.  She said they also met at a “soul/funk” party.  So I made what I thought my version of a soulfunk party flier would look like.
Pic one, will show you move one, which was making a combination Swiss and Italian flag, Swisstalian.  Since this is his blood and citizenship, I thought that the Swisstalian flag was a good foundation for the painting.
Pic two, shows further division of the space using what I found to be the predominant colors of soul funk party fliers, purple and orange.
Pic three, I blocked out the clashing colors revealing some nice color lines, and then I did three circles in the middle, one blue for his son, and two pink for his daughters, and him in the middle (yellow).
Pic four,  I used a dark wash to knock everything back, and then used black and white to color in 7 spaces per quadrant on the picture plane, 7 being the numeric value of G, her Graziano’s first initial.
Pic five,  You will see I put the first initial of each of his children’s names to further divide the space and make some nice difficult hurdles for me to have to jump over.
Pic six,  I added the hands to illustrate the fact that we were celebrating this guy, and his many virtues through this piece that she, that gal in love with him, felt compelled enough to commission me to paint. She said he is a humble guy who will help any of his friends or kids without wanting anything in return, so he is being applauded for that.  Then I added dimension through shadows and in the yellow and gold striped triangles I divided that space into 5 stripes for the 5 months between the time that they first met (but were both in bummer relationships), and the time that they MET at this party.  The whole idea of this being my soulfunk flier is obviously to commemorate the event in which they met again at the right time.
I was stoked on the result…
Gospel Song, 2013, Oil and Acrylic on Canvas, 12" x 12", Available

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
Rotas square.  That is not the title as much as it is my version thereof.  More of a rotas rectangle…but at any rate, 8″ x 12″, oil and acrylic on canvas, 2013.  More on the rotas square, here….
“Dark Is The Night”, 18″ x 24″, oil and acrylic on canvas.  2010-2013
oldy4“It’s O.K.”, acrylic, oil, and collage on canvas, 2010
oldy3“It’s O.K.”, 18″ x 24″ acrylic, oil, and collage on canvas, 2010

oldy“It’s O.K.” 18″ x 24″, acrylic, oil, and collage on canvas, 2010

No title yet, 12″ x 12″, oil and acrylic on canvas, 2013-2014
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“B-RAD”, 6″ x 6″, oil on canvas, 2014


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