Callum Eaton: Portrait Of A Pain In My Ass (Parking Ticket)

Callum Eaton

Artwork’s Title: Portrait Of A Pain In My Ass

Materials Used: Oil on canvas

Studio Based: Bath, UK

Callum Eats, Portrait of a Pain in my Arse (Parking Ticket), 86.5 x 86.5 cm, Oil on Canvas, 2021

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

I look at my phone, find an image and think ‘yeah I can paint that.’ Most of them start as jokes that have been told one too many times at the pub.

How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?

Accessible, unpretentious and photographic.

Could you share with us some insights on your artwork named ‘Portrait of a pain in my Ass’? Is there any particular story or meaning behind this artwork? Does its title signify something which is directly related to the story of this work?

On my way to my studio on a wet winter morning I saw this lurid yellow parking ticket sitting in the gutter. I brought it back to my studio and it sat on my studio wall for weeks until I finally saw it as a subject for a painting.

My work is about life and playing with these day to day banalities. The ordinary, the quotidian and even the abject all become heightened to the status of a jewel, becoming something worth paying attention to. I see beauty in the corners of the everyday.

As an artist, I’m interested in portraying culture and society as it is today. My paintings are social and political but I avoid taking sides; I am a passive observer, poking fun at the mess we leave in our wake.

According to you, what is alluring about photorealistic paintings? It looks like you are very keen on this art field.

It was never an intention of mine to become a photorealist, in fact up until recently I resisted this term quite strongly. It is a process that allows me to spend my energy making decisions on what to paint, not how to paint it. Also, it was the only thing I was better at than my sister, so naturally I continued.

Could we describe your recent works as alternative forms of contemporary still life?

Yes. They are paintings of objects that you don’t think deserve to be rendered in oil paint. However, I am giving them the stoic grandeur of works of the old masters. I aim to be playfully disrespectful to a lineage I very much admire, but also can’t help but take the piss. I want to fuck with your expectations at what an oil painting can be.

Do specific artworks have been created by random experiments in your studio or do you always come up with a particular concept or narrative in the very beginning?

All my work is very deliberate; I know exactly how I want it to look at the end. However, as I progress with the painting other ideas, jokes and conversations can happen thathelps inform the next one.

Do you ever wonder if additional work was needed, when an artwork’s making process is finished?

Never. If I think that, I go back and finish it.

Is there any particular theme that utterly triggers you to engage your art with?

Tacky Realism.

Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?

As an artist coming of age in the time of social media, my aesthetic education is wide and varied. A tutor once quipped that I have ‘greedy eyes’, and this finds no better example than in my influences. Ranging from Marks and Spencer’s chocolate cakes and emojis to Zuburan and Velazquez. In terms of artists, I admire the compositional strength, abstract qualities and the use of banal subject matter in the work of Wayne Thiebaud, Georgio Morandi and Lisa Milroy. Andy Warhol, Oil Epp and Alessandro Raho interest me greatly due to their ability to make very traditional genres of picture making contemporary and relevant.

What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space look like?

Industrial, spacious and bright with a riverside view. In other words, perfection.

Which are your plans for the near future?

I am proud to be taking part in an exhibition in the Scalpel, opening late June. I also have a few exhibitions planned in London for summer with the collective Sons Of Craft, as well as an exhibition with a gallery I’m represented by, Studio Chapple, at MKII opening on the last weekend of October. I am busy in the studio, developing my ongoing series of paintings of tonhgue-in cheek objects. I have often thought that we overlook the ordinary, but I still believe beauty lies in the corners of the everyday.

Additional Paintings

Callum Eaton, Kettle Bell, 60 x 60 cm, Oil on Canvas, 2020
Callum Eaton, Ozwald Boateng, 60 x 60 cm, Oil Canvas, 2020
Callum Eaton, Colin, 60 x 60 cm, Oil on canvas, 2021


All images courtesy of the artist

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