Artist Portrait: Who is RYCA - Ryan Callanan?

Ryan Callanan (also known as RYCA) is a modern Pop Artist

Formerly engaged in producing prints and installations for other artists he is now carving out a niche for himself, using his experience in 3D work. Recently chosen as the British Jubilee Artist alongside Peter Blake, he reproduced the iconic British telephone box in multi coloured multiJmedia formats.

He recently released collaboration works with indie band ‘Kasabian’ and mega DJ/producer ‘Fatboy Slim’. He was also commissioned to produce the Knot Violence 2010 football world cup in South Africa, with designs by players including Buffon [Italy], Song [Cameroon] and David James [England], and was a major contributor to the British Telecom Jubilee/Olympic celebrations in 2012. He has exhibited in Miami, Berlin, LA, Hong Kong, South Africa, Tokyo, Oslo and the UK; and collaborated with numerous acclaimed artists including Stik, Ben Eine and David Walker.

Iconic motif re-contextualised

Ryan began a series of works using the smiley face synonymous with acid house rave culture in the 1980s. Working in bas-relief, this iconic motif was re-contextualised by rendering it in material and style usually associated with traditional pub signs - gold inlay and black lacquered background. Important to all Ryan’s work to date is this concept of the cross reference: taking one item out of its context and splicing it with another to create something that feels familiar but whose meaning is subtly shifted. This is certainly the case in our selection of Smileys. Callanan studied 3D Design and Modelmaking, which is reflected in his work. He says to Beautiful Crime:

“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.”

This Style is Identical to None: BritWeek, ‘Visual Artist of the Year’ award

On the 13th of March 2015 Ryan Callanan was selected to receive the ‘Visual Artist of the Year’ award in partnership with Juxtapoz magazine at BritWeek in LA. BritWeek said:

"The Visual Artist of the Year Award will become one of BritWeek’s signature events. It will allow BritWeek to recognize the next generation of talent emerging from the UK and provide a platform to showcase the chosen artist to a new US audience every year."

“Art has always been a major and important component of our BritWeek events, celebrating the long history of British contribution in the field, both modern and historical,” said Bob Peirce, BritWeek Chairman and Co-Founder; “Highlighting the next generation of talent emerging from the UK is core to what we do and we are therefore delighted to have RYCA as our 2015 recipient for the BritWeek Visual Artist of the Year.”

BT Diamond Jubilee ArtBox Project

Ryan turned six (one for each decade) phone boxes pink by wrapping them in an alternative version of the union jack. His design for the ‘BT Diamond Jubilee ArtBox Project’ was chosen as 'the' design.

Here, he speaks to The Huffington Post: “I wanted to create a more feminine styled box, a pink version of the union jack wrapped around the box. The positive message, LONG LIVE LOVE LIFE a summary of our Queen and her reign. The words are relevant for everyone, timeless and joyful. I think the design and message will remain relevant after the diamond jubilee celebrations are over and hopefully serve as a reminder of such a historic event."

Fatboy Slim (aka Norman Cook) Collaboration 2013

To celebrate Mixmag's (the world's biggest selling dance music and clubbing magazine) 30th birthday, Fatboy Slim hosted a Mixmag Live Party at Village Underground, London. Callanan collaborated with the renowned DJ and Producer to create 'Acid Drop' (100+ unique signed and numbered pieces of artwork) 

On the day of the party, both artists went out onto the streets of East London where each and every one of the unique works were scattered about for anyone to pick up and take

home with them for free. Callanan is now working with Fatboy Slim on his graphics and branding. He has also created flyers for Cook’s Glastonbury hidden tour and festival dates.

Fatboy Slim (Norman Cook) commented:

“Ryan and I are brothers in smileys. His pieces are all over my house, his smile in my heart......”

Stik 2012

“Ryan Callanan makes pictures go "Ping". His work looks good enough to eat.”

Below: Collaboration with Stik, exhibited at Callanan’s solo show at the London Westbank Gallery in November 2012.

Above: Street artist Stik’s famous figure, silk screen printed by Ryan Callanan.

We are pleased to offer a selection of his ‘Smileys Powerpill’. Each is an edition of 10. Sold exclusively through LAMBERTY.