Who am I? That’s a rather philosophical question. Just when I think I have that all figured out, I realize I know nothing about myself. Is it possible to know everything and nothing at the same time? I guess it’s good to have no definitive answer as it must mean I’m still growing and evolving as a person and an artist. Explaining where I’m from isn’t much easier as I’m from everywhere, somewhere and nowhere. My father was in the military so we moved around a lot. I even lived in Europe for 4 years. Ultimately we settled in Pennsylvania. So that’s probably where I most identify as being “from”. But the rest of my family is from New England and I live in the Bay Area, California.
What is your journey to start making art? How did you start your art career and what brought you to start showing your works?
My mother, Joycelyn Erho Calande, was an artist so art has always been part of my life. Going to museums, galleries and art shows was nothing foreign to me. I have always enjoyed “creating” so by the time high school was wrapping up it was pretty clear to me I wanted to pursue art professionally in some capacity. I ended up attending the oldest art school in the U.S., The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. At the time, at age 17 and fresh out of high school, I was the youngest to ever be admitted. It was an intense 4 year art program focusing on drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. By the time I was finishing college, I was doing commission work, showing in some Philadelphia area galleries and entering shows.
What does inspire your artworks?
I’ve never been big on having my art “say something”, that’s what books are for. That’s not to say there’s never a hidden (or not so hidden) message in some works. But mostly I feel as artists we are creating something unique, a different way to see and express something visually, we are sharing pieces of ourselves. Sometimes a pretty picture is just a pretty picture. And I think that’s where artists excel. We make the world a more beautiful and more interesting place. At least most of the time.
What is your experience with the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity?
I’ve been a longtime collector of animation art. Specifically the original production art used to create the original Looney Tunes / Merrie Melodie cartoons. I’ve always loved the art form. Many of those animators were also fine artists themselves. I was lucky enough to meet Chuck Jones (and the Jones family) on many occasions as well as some of the other animation artists like Maurice Noble, Pete Alvarado, Marc Davis, Eyvind Earle and others. What I loved about meeting Chuck Jones is that he always made sure you left with more knowledge than which you came. After visiting Chuck’s gallery many times over many years, I began to participate in their annual Red Dot Art Auction. Artists from all over the world donate 12 x 12 inch works of art for a silent fund raising auction. The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity uses the money to offer art and creativity programs to people of all ages, but especially to the young and old. I believe September of 2021 will be the 11th Red Dot Auction and I’ve participated in almost every one, missing only a year or two. This year I’ll be donating 2 works of art….or maybe 3, we’ll see. But the auction brings two of my loves together, Looney Tunes and art. It makes me happy that my work not only raises money for a good cause but it’s nice to know the auction winners are living with my artwork, giving it a home, and enjoying it. Hopefully for some, those little 12 x 12 works will become treasured family heirlooms and bring decades of joy. At the very least my little paintings will hopefully bring some color and life to yet another bare and sterile wall in this world.
How is the Covid-19 influencing your Art? How did you use the quarantine time?
What are your plans and dreams for the future?