About the Artist
Mike Calder is a designer. He started, after a Masters in Control Systems Theory, by designing machines and tools, and went on to design computer systems and their human interfaces; his work here is in use in every continent of the world, except Antarctica.
In 2002 ago he moved to Cornwall and his Celtic roots have responded by making him work in watercolour and acrylic; on animal studies, landscapes, and anything else that tickles his fancy. He has recently been awarded a PhD in Post-Rational Discourse, and hopes soon to become a qualified stonemason.
Mike says it is impossible to take life seriously; it’s much too important for that. What drives his painting is the urge to convey scale and just how incredible things are. “Everything is either huge or astoundingly tiny. Either way it’s always so marvelously well-formed and detailed. Everything is beautiful, provided you look at it the right way – only some people and their actions are unattractive. And isn’t colour amazing?”
Mike describes himself as an abstract painter, because his work is very much an abstraction from his subjects. “My stuff doesn’t look at all like reality, when you examine it. It’s abstract, even though it’s clearly of recognisable things.”
The paintings in this gallery here are a small example of Mike’s work.
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I was born in Japan but instantly felt that Cornwall is my spiritual home. The landscape, the sky, the weather and the people all combine to make Cornwall a place I want to be. Back home in Japan I work with natural stone and grind it down into powered to use as a paint material. I see the amazing granite of Cornwall as a perfect material to use in my art.
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Influenced by magic realism among numerous other things, I began to teach myself to paint before attending college in London. I create a kind of holistic patchwork of stories often through docufiction; the aim being to eventually develop a unique interpretation of life and the world.
My painting is an expression of my love of the land here in West Penwith, a connection with the beauty and power of the landscape. The paintings are in oil paint on board or canvas, and are realistic & representational landscapes of West Cornwall, but not in an entirely photographic way; they are hyper-real, or more than real.
My work is compiled, I build layer after layer, sometimes taking areas back to where I started, reworking or allowing the beginnings to be exposed. Layers are often thin and my tools are basic. Some papers and canvas may go through the press, some are hand pressed, all are painted and repainted.
Simon paints in an ‘Impressionistic’ painting technique in oils on canvas. Influences include several Impressionists and Post Impressionists, and subsequent artists such as Sargent and Brangwyn.
I studied graphic design for 4 years in the 1970’s and gained Associate Membership of the Society of Industrial Artists & Designers and of the Society of Typographical Designers. I went on to work in London for companies including IPC Magazines and Royle Print Ltd.