Ryan Callanan aka RYCA
Chosen as a British Jubilee Artist alongside Peter Blake, Ryan studied 3D Design and Modelmaking at Barking College, in Dagenham, London. In the early days, the artist started to experiment with street art and, soon after, he produced his first screenprint which sold out within weeks. He then became known as RYCA.
With a background in printing and pub sign-making, Ryan’s artworks employ a quirky and clever use of imagery drawn from popular culture. ‘It is important to me that my work is recognisable and accessible, that is why I like to experiment with symbols that I grew up with by appropriating them and giving them a humorous twist’.
Callanan's emblematic series of three-dimensional smiley faces, synonymous with the Acid House rave culture of the 1980s, quickly made him a name amongst collectors, who appreciated the artist’s original take on the famous symbol by using a new mix of gold-inlay and black-painted glass techniques and preserving an artisan approach to producing work.
Ryan employs his craftsmanship as a three-dimensional sign writer and model maker in order to create awe-inspiring limited-edition typography and sculptures. Many of his signs, made with glass, resin, gold and paint, explore the use of colloquial words, song lyrics and popular quotes. His collection of expletive-insertions, in which an expletive is inserted into a word, has become a symbol of Ryan’s playful diving into British popular culture; his experimentation with lyrics have resulted in highly collectable editions amongst musicians, music producers and writers.
Ryan's interest in working with different materials and methods keep his work fresh and in a constant state of change. ‘I’m interested in studying, discovering and experimenting with various processes and technological advances’, Ryan explains. Fellow artist Ben Eine has recently called Ryan a ‘chemist-like artist’.
Ryan would like to 'really establish the aesthetic of old fashion signage as an art form’.
Ryan Callanan has collaborated with acclaimed artists such as DJ Fatboy Slim, Sick Boy, Ben Eine, David Walker and Stik, amongst others.
We have been working with Ryan since 2010 when he first showed a solo body of work at ink_d Gallery, Brighton, where Dan was working as a curator.
Whistleblower Gallery continues to exhibit Ryan Callanan's body of work and is currently curating a solo show with new works by the artist.
BLOOM, Whistleblower Gallery, April, Brighton, UK
T.O.Y, Totems Of Youth, Whistleblower Gallery, April, Brighton, UK
Solid State, Solo show, Whistleblower Gallery, May, Brighton, UK
Futuretro, Group Show, Clutter Gallery, NY, USA
White + Black, Group show, Whistleblower Gallery, March/April, Brighton, UK
Here we go!, Group show, Whistleblower Gallery, Brighton, UK
The POPTORIAN, Solo show - Lambert Gallery, London, UK
Inaction Figure, Group show, Clutter Gallery, NY, USA
Ddcc release with DKE Toys
Nycc with Toy Tokyo and Dke Toys
The London Original Print Fair, TAG Fine Arts, Royal Academy, London, UK
AAF HK, TAG Fine Arts, Hong Kong, China
Metropolitan Pavilion, TAG Fine Arts, New York, USA
Vernissage, 2 THREE GALLERY, Paris, France
AAF Battersea Autumn, TAG Fine Arts, Battersea Evolution, London, UK
Moniker Art Fair, The Old Truman Brewery, Shoreditch London, UK
Multiplied Contemporary Editions Fair, TAG Fine Arts, Christie’s, London, UK
Rough With The Smooth, Copro Gallery, Santa Monica, USA
Perspectives, Robert Fontaine Gallery, Miami, USA
AAF Singapore, TAG Fine Arts, F1 Pit Building, Singapore
8 Forever, ink_d gallery, Brighton and Lawrence Alkin Gallery, London
Moniker Art Fair, TAG Fine Arts The Old Truman Brewery, Shoreditch, London, UK
Art14, TAG Fine Arts, Kensington, London, UK
London Art Fair, TAG Fine Arts, Islington, London, UK
RYCA: Refresh, Robert Fontaine Gallery, Miami, USA
Moniker Art Fair, The Old Truman Brewery, Shoreditch, London, UK
Word Up, ink_d Gallery, Brighton, UK
Highs and Lows, West Bank Gallery, London, UK
The Symbols Won’t Save Us, ink_d gallery, Brighton, UK
We sometimes have other available works by Ryan Callanan, or can accept commissions. Please get in touch if you want to know more.
A conversation with Ryan Callanan
by Dan Hipkin
Where did you study and what was your background before you started in signage?
I studied Modelmaking at BTEC level at Barking College in Dagenham, where I lived. Afterwards I was supposed to do an HND qualificati