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Untitled by Callum Simmons

Callum Simmons, known as Piicasa on Instagram, is a Manchester-born fine art student and graphic designer most known for his extensive exploration of subject, dimensionality and colour. Throughout 2016 and 2017, Simmons’ politically driven poster prints – featuring a suicidal Donald Trump and Boris Johnson – appeared in exhibitions and graffitied on walls across the globe, adding to existing social commentaries of political unrest and corruption.

Simmons refuses to be categorised as another ‘political artist’; bringing us to his more recent work that explores an obsession with colour. This period of work features shifting perspectives, moiré, viewer interaction and hard edge abstraction.

Untitled is a perfect example of Simmons’ interdisciplinary mixed-media practice, displaying his interest in how multiple contrasting elements result in a 2D kinetic image. 29 horizontal lines, each a different gradient on the CMYK colour spectrum, make it difficult to conclusively put together any solid image. Rather, Untitled clearly shows Simmons’ skill at hard edge paintings and creating gradients with spray paint; evidently his knowledge of colour ensures that the painting does not become a jumbled, muddy mess when observing from a distance.

At first glance, to create such an abstract piece might seem easy, though it must be noted that each colour gradient has been carefully selected to create the illusion of dimensionality. This new direction of exploring kinetic visual images through colour feels much more expressive for Simmons. Compared to the heaviness that political art brings, Untitled and this era of abstraction feels light-hearted, positive and exciting.

 The sense of freedom brought forth by experimentation and personal investigation, in addition to rejecting creative boundaries, has clearly been a success for this artist. Undoubtedly, things can only go up from here.

Words by Chloe Copley