Ryan Callanan began his career as street artists under the pseudonym ‘RYCS’. However, after studying 3D Design and model making at Barking College, in Dagenham, London and working in the field for over 10 years, he moved move away from this aesthetic towards a new practice that focused more on the in-depth knowledge of materials and craftsmanship acquired through his training.
Ryan’s work draws on a wide spectrum of 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’. By cross referencing familiar mass media symbols he creates pieces which are both commonplace and highly original with subtly shifted meanings.
He 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. In this artwork, Cherry, Callanan appropriates the motifs of a fruit machine, creating a simple visual pun, which repositions the symbol in a new context, changing the meaning in the process.
Ryan Callanan has collaborated with numerous acclaimed artists including David Walker, Stik, Ben Eine and Sick Boy, as well DJ Fatboy Slim. He has had several highly successful solo shows and was recently selected as a British Jubilee Artist.