An interview with Conner Calhoun on his art practice, Medieval elements in his work, and recent developments in his career
An interview with 2015 VCS alumnus Connor Calhoun was published earlier this week on ArtsNow, a site dedicated to news about visual and performing arts in North Carolina’s Triangle region. In the interview, Calhoun talks about his use of Medieval-style imagery in his work, his participation in the group exhibition Submerged at The Mahler fine art gallery in Raleigh, and other recent developments in his career.
Here’s a brief excerpt from the beginning of the interview. You can read the rest at this link.
Unpolished, heavily outlined structures. Flat and stiff figures with no depth. Castles and floral framing of the scene. These are the medieval qualities Conner Calhoun includes in his artistic rejuvenation of the antiquated aesthetic.
Calhoun earned his BFA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of Visual Arts, NYC in 2015. He’s recently shown his work in Leipzig DEU, Raleigh and Barcelona. He was a Regional Emerging Artist-in-Residence at Artspace in 2016 and also the recipient of the Leipzig International Artist Residency Grant.
We recently caught up with the artist to talk shop.
AN: What sparked incorporating medieval imagery into your works?
CC: In college I used to hang around all these drag queens and colorful, queer nightlife spaces – everyone was very sparkly and decorative. It all felt like I was inside a medieval painting. When I first started learning about illuminated manuscripts in art history, I thought this was the perfect way to celebrate the people I was surrounded by; there were so many parallels aesthetically toward the decorative page and the life I was living.
In allegorical imagery there is no ambiguity or open ended interpretation because there is text beneath the image explaining the meaning and the moral compass of the image. I escape from this. I let my images explain themselves, allowing the text be a part of the image instead of imposing on it.