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RYAN CALLANAN

Ryan Callanan is the alter ego of his alias ‘RYCA’ under which he became a prominent artist on the Street Art Scene. Ryan Callanan’s highly disciplined work is a move away from this aesthetic towards a new practice that focuses more on the skills and techniques he developed as a 3D sign writer.

Ryan Callanan began with a series of 3D works of the smiley face which is synonymous with Acid House rave culture of the 1980s. He re-contextualised this iconic motif by rendering it in materials and a style usually associated with traditional pub signs; bas-relief, gold inlay and a black lacquered background. This led to a highly successful series of works in the visual style of the subverted pub sign.

Before working as a sign writer Ryan studied 3D Design and Modelmaking. Through his qualification and over 10 years of professional work he has acquired a vast knowledge of materials, learning about surface finish, spray painting, casting and moulding. “From day one in college (1998) to now, I have discovered new methods and processes every day.

Technology is important and keeping up with the latest developments is essential,” Ryan explains. In fact Ben Eine has called Ryan Callanan a “chemist-like” expert with materials and techniques.

Ryan’s work draws on a wide spectrum of popular culture. By cross referencing the familiar (pub signs, smiley faces, lyrics etc) he creates pieces which are ostensibly commonplace but actually highly original and unusual with subtly shifted meanings. His body of work is truly pushing the boundaries and rejuvenating the dying art of sign writing. In his own words, Ryan wants “to really establish the aesthetic of what I call ‘old fashioned signage’ as an art form to make it mine. Nothing is truly original but I don’t know of anyone else doing this kind of work.”

Ryan Callanan has collaborated with numerous acclaimed artists including David Walker, Stik, Ben Eine and Sick Boy, as well DJ Fatboy Slim.