RYCA (Ryan Callanan) is an artist working in contemporary printmaking and graphics. Already a prominent artist on the Street Art scene, the last few years have seen Ryan move away from this aesthetic towards a new practice that draws upon his in-depth knowledge of materials and craftsmanship acquired through his training in industrial model making and 3-D design.
From the starting point of the emblematic visual sign, Ryan began a series of works using the smiley face synonymous with acid house rave culture in the 1980s. Working in base-relief, this iconic motif was re-contextualized by rendering it in material and style usually associated with traditional pub signs - gold inlay and black lacquered background. This highly technical skill obtained and finessed through Ryan’s parallel career in the sign making industry.
Important to all Ryan’s work to date is the 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 used to great effect by Ryan’s use of the pub sign style, something so atmospherically nostalgic and locked in the collective British psyche it becomes an unconsciously absorbed reference point against which the words or symbols can react.