Here for his debut RUN, we welcome in Suggestivism artist Julian Callos with his recent piece Sin-eater. Read on as we talk with Julian about past influences, the background on his debut RUN and more in this installation of the 1xRUN Thru Interview below…
1xRun Thru Interview
Sin-eater by Julian Callos
1xRun: Tell us a bit about the original, what materials was it printed on and drawn with? Is it still for sale?
Julian Callos: The original is a painting on paper mounted on a cradled wood panel, measuring in at 11″ x 14″ x 2″. The painting is a mix of acrylic washes for the background and flat, opaque foreground figures painted in acryla-gouache. The original is still for sale, and anyone interested in purchasing it can contact me.
1xRun: When was the piece drawn and created?
Julian Callos: It was created in April of 2012 for the 2012 Suggestivism show curated by Nathan Spoor.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about? How long did the piece take?
Julian Callos: This piece is loosely based on the practice of sin-eating, whereby an individual (the “sin-eater”) would remove the sins of a recently deceased person through ritual consumption of food and drink and take them into himself, allowing the deceased person’s soul to rest in peace. In this case, the sin-eater is the stag, who (reluctantly) bears the dead man’s injuries as well as the weight of all his troubles. The piece is also loosely inspired by the themes in the song “Cheerleader” by St. Vincent. The actual painting took me a couple days, but coming up with the idea and sketching took a couple of weeks.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece? Why should people buy this print?
Julian Callos: A lot of my work features birds and various animals (each with its own symbolic meaning in the context of a piece), but I believe this is the first time a vulture and a stag‚ either/both of which represent the titular sin-eater in this particular piece‚ have made an appearance in my work. People should buy this piece because it would make for a good conversation piece. You can tell all your friends about sin-eating!
1xRun: Describe this print in one gut reaction word.
Julian Callos: Melancholy.
1xRun: When did you first start making art? What was your first piece?
Julian Callos: I’ve been drawing ever since I was three. I think my first drawing was a head with a bunch of legs spreading out from it, like sun rays. Next to it I practiced writing my name. I think my mom still has the drawing saved somewhere, actually!
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on? What artists inspire you now?
Julian Callos: Cartoons continually inspired me to draw when I was a kid (they still do, in fact). I especially loved the classic Looney Tunes cartoons under Chuck Jones. Not only was the style really influential, but the sense of humor was as well. And of course the early 90s lineup of cartoons on Nickelodeon was a big inspiration. These days I’m really into the work coming out of the independent/alternative comics scene.
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what? If not then what is your environment like when you work?
Julian Callos: In general I like to listen to bands whose songs incorporate a lot of different instruments and whose lyrics are thematically rich, so usually I’ll shuffle between Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent, and Beirut. These days, though, I mostly listen to podcasts while working. Some of my favorite podcasts are Comedy Bang! Bang!, The Nerdist, Throwing Shade, and Radiolab, but I alternate between those and a ton more. It’s just nice to laugh and/or learn something while working.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why?
Julian Callos: I think it would be awesome to do album art or posters (or anything really) for any of the musicians I mentioned. They are such huge inspirations, so some sort of collaboration would be a dream come true.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any deceased artists who would it be and why?
Julian Callos: A collaboration with Chuck Jones would make the kid in me really happy.
1xRun: What was the last piece of art that you bought?
Julian Callos: I don’t think I’ve ever bought an original painting! There’s just so much good work out there but right now I don’t think my wallet could handle most of the work I have my eye on. Maybe one day I’ll splurge and buy an original, though. I’d love to have original paintings by Casey Weldon and Charlie Immer hanging up in my home.
1xRun: What else have you been up to lately? What else do you have in the works?
Julian Callos: I’m in a few group shows in the coming months, including Crazy 4 Cult 6 in New York for Gallery 1988, the third annual Wes Anderson tribute show at Spoke Art Gallery, and a prints show at WWA Gallery.