Local Artist Spotlight: Hakim Callwood
Hakim Callwood is a visual artist whose work is imaginative and non-conformative. His work with varying mediums like acrylic paintings and graphics is inspired by everything from stand-up comedy to anime.
He often does Afrofuturistic portraits and sci-fi imaginings of black men and women. And though media representation is an issue, he says his work isn’t purposefully trying to make a statement. “I just draw what I see,” he says.
Recurring characters in his graphic artwork are space travelers Spaceboy and his partner Spacegirl. He’s currently working on transforming their 2D adventures to 3D with figurines made from virtual reality sculpting during his internship at the Idea Foundry.
Callwood is increasingly involved in youth programming and education. He sometimes substitutes Saturday morning art classes at CCAD for middle school age kids and teaches private classes. And last summer he taught for the Art Mobile, which takes pop-up art classes out to libraries in Franklinton and the Hilltop.
Callwood expresses the importance of introducing art to children from a young age. He notices that many of the children he teaches have real talent and interest in art.
“To be at a Saturday morning art class you kind of want to be there—it’s not like you’re forced to be there—so even if they’re off topic, they’re still working and drawing,” he says. “They’re enjoying it and they’re interested.”
And they’re completely uninhibited, Callwood says. “I got baggage that I have to unpack when I’m making a piece,” he says. “I [forget] that since I do this for work that it could be so fun.”
Callwood wants to work with locals in Columbus like Richard “Duarte” Brown, a master artist with Transit Arts and the Ohio Alliance for the Arts Education youth programs. He says what’s lacking in school art classes, especially for minorities, is discussing art as a profession.
“They don’t tell you about learning your demographic, and making prints…and how much commission a gallery should take from you,” he says. “I think the biggest problem with minorities, especially black people, in the professional art world is we don’t see it as a real job, and our families don’t, and we have [a] poor education of it.”
Callwood started teaching because of his mentor Bryan Moss, who is an instructor at Columbus College of Art and Design. Callwood has picked up a lot from Moss and makes it a point to emulate him and follow in his footsteps.
Earlier this year, Callwood did a Black Panther themed art exhibition alongside Moss. Collaborating with his mentor wasn’t a big deal, however. “We work together a lot, like in the studio next to each other, so it’s no biggie,” Callwood says.
Callwood has murals up at 934 Studios, 129 Studios and Closed Quarters. He also is one of the artists that contributed to CCAD’s Sprite mural, across from Strongwater.
And earlier this month, Callwood joined local rappers at SXSW in Austin. He did live paintings during their set, something he has done at a number of concerts and events. “I personally think watching someone paint is boring,” he says, “so I kind of go out of my way to make it a little bit more exciting as far as the pacing.”
Callwood says his goal is to do more art shows outside of Columbus. He wasn’t exposed to art until high school and is frustrated he didn’t get the exposure to art sooner. He wants to change that for others.
“A lot of people, their first art shows are coming to the ones I’m throwing, or I’m a part of. So I’m trying to leave a great impression on them,” he says. “I’m getting better at creating a good experience for my audience, and I think that’s the big part of it.”
“It is definitely a bigger thing than just me,” he says.
Callwood will be giving a presentation at Pecha Kucha, day and time TBD.
For more information about Callwood’s work, visit hakimsartnstuff.com.