Red Bank gallery hosts exhibit by LA artist

DETOUR Gallery
Jan 11, 2018 3:45PM

Michael Callas is a draftsman by design and a painter by trade. Based out of Los Angeles, Callas creates vibrant domestic scenes with intricate linework and bright color palettes.

Detour Gallery is currently hosting his “Case Study Paintings” series until early February. Callas first came in contact with the gallery through Knowledge Bennett, a fellow Los Angeles artist who originally hails from Asbury Park.

In the “Case Study Paintings” series, shades of yellow, purple and green converge with detailed kitchens and living rooms. Callas was originally trained in architecture but left school to pursue a more creative career. Now, he transforms his blueprints into fine art.

Untitled (Case Study), 2013 (106 x 80 inches; Spray paint and stencil on canvas)

Untitled (Case Study), 2013 (106 x 80 inches; Spray paint and stencil on canvas)

Untitled (Case Study), 2013 (106 x 80 inches; Spray paint and stencil on canvas)

“The whole point was to be as liberal and free with color, and not worry about the composition or form of the image,” he said. “I never viewed myself as an abstract artist until I started painting. I stumbled upon this process organically and learned about myself through my choices.”

Callas synthesizes the Southern California aesthetic with a post-World War II housing trend called the Case Study movement. The artist saw himself in these blueprints, because his own ready-made photos echo this style.

“Architectural Digest magazine had this idea of what the new style of living would be,” heexplains. “Their intent was to aim at the baby boomers, and people coming back from war finding this newfound freedom and wealth. They wanted to make sustainable homes that were modern and could also be mass-produced. But they didn’t have the right tooling or computers. Ultimately the program ended up failing for the same reasons it would be successful today.”

Roseanne Barr Battling For The Good Of All Mankind, 2013 (83 x 114.5 inches; Spray paint and stencil on canvas)

Despite the movement’s failure, Callas is keeping the sentiment alive. In each piece, he starts with a drawn outline. He then maps the sketch and figures out layers for stencils, creating a checklist of different shapes that comprise the overall image. Once all layers are completed, he focuses on color.

At first, Callas was primarily concerned with contrast and saturation. But as his body of work progressed, his choices became more sophisticated. He now prefers to work with shades of the same colors.

In terms of inspiration, Callas draws influence from painters such as Roy Lichtenstein and Caravaggio, plus industrialists like Henry Ford. He intends to continue with this creative process indefinitely.

Chief, 2013 (40 x  inches; Spray paint and stencil on canvas)

Flower Study, 2013 (36 x 24 inches; Spray paint and stencil on canvas)


WHEN: Through Feb. 8

WHERE: Detour Gallery, 24 Clay St., Red Bank


INFO: 732-704-3115 or

- Article by Billy Anania @billyanania

Asbury Park Press

DETOUR Gallery