Education: – Maryland Institute College of Art 1989-93
Fred Calleri was born in Maryland and moved to Flagstaff, Arizona in 2001. Fred has been interested in art throughout his life as well as a gifted draftsman since childhood. Early influences were Renaissance painters and the Masters of the early 20th century. Calleri’s son Brodie has the middle name of Wyeth, taken from the great illustrator N.C. Wyeth.
Fred Calleri’s experience at The Maryland Institute College of Art from 1988-1993 was a watershed event for him. There he was an Illustration and Graphic design major. The excellent training he received opened the window to all fields of art. Ironically, Fred took one painting class in college (the smell of turpentine made him ill) and only became seriously interested in professionally painting after the birth of his son in 1997.
After an extensive period in Graphic Design and Marketing, Calleri decided to move to Flagstaff and take advantage of the history, scenery, people and especially the astounding light offered in the western regions of the U.S. A recent move has brought Calleri to Santa Barbara, CA. By studying artists such as Zorn, Sargent, Vermeer, Sorolla and many others as well as living masters today, Calleri aims to reproduce classic and romantic images using the master’s palette and mood to create an emotional reaction.
Fred covers a wide range of styles and subject matter. As he explores different paths, the figure resonates throughout each piece. While exploring the figure and representational painting in general, Calleri found by adding a slight distortion he was free to let the image take him where it wanted to go. Calleri injects into his images a romantic and mysterious quality.
Now starting to evolve is a smoother blending of the representational with the quirky distortion, as well as an effort to create a deeper narrative with the work. The historical or “period” nature of the work lends itself to the style and reaches back to a seemingly simpler time. This theme resonates with casual observers and collectors alike. Using vintage reference photos, live models, and imagination, the work is then created on Masonite Panel or Canvas.
Currently Fred uses each piece as a new lesson. The desire is to have a goal for each piece that may relate to mood, palette, light or expression. By looking at the way Sargent used his palette or Vermeer’s light and use of pattern, Calleri is able to garner a small lesson from that and use it from that point onward.