"Red Girls" by Celia Calle

Professionally Cool
New York-based artist ©elia Calle makes time for Guu between work and comic conventions to talk about authority figures, Freud, and the visually orgasmic.

Blair Cooper

Oct 7, 2005 | An excerpt from one of Celia Calle’s past interviews might read:

“Why did you become an illustrator?”

“I didn’t qualify for supermodel.”

An answer like that makes you professionally cool in this journalist’s book. Her artwork alone was more than enough to necessitate an interview as soon as possible. The fact that she’s smart and funny is just icing on the camel’s back, or whatever.

"English" by Celia CalleCalle’s work instantiates an end of the contemporary character design spectrum that’s less familiar to some of us. Good character art isn’t limited to comics and video games. Many of Calle’s characters live in the worlds of fashion, sports, advertisement, and fine art. Her clients include ESPN, Gatorade, Marvel, Nike, Adidas, Calvin Klein, and Jean-Paul Gaultier. She’s had numerous exhibitions in New York City. And this is her umpteenth interview.

There’s a bevy of hip ways to describe her art: anything from “sexily twisted” to “graced by audaciously confident characters that could whip the most seasoned of clubbers into dancefloor submission.” But translating the visual into the verbal is difficult with Calle’s work. And, as the artist herself notes, not something she wants to do. So let’s leave the “talking” to the art and the commentary to the artist. Read on, but don’t say you weren’t warned. In the next three pages you are about to experience multiple visual orgasms. This can be addictive, and highly contagious.

How was the San Diego Comic-Con?

Exhaustingly fun! It’s always nice to be loved. [Smiles]

Has East Asian pop art influenced you work at all? Do any particular artists, games, movies, or comics come to mind?

All-time favorite movies The Sound of Music, Robocop, Exorcist, and A Clockwork Orange are among the many films that have had more of an influence on my work than any particular artist or comics alone.

Being born in the States and growing up mainly with American comics and cartoons, Asian pop and anime weren’t first in the line of what I remember bringing me to "awe" with animation. I do remember a few television episodes of Robotech that kept me glued to the TV back in grade school. Now, of course, we have a more "global" insight into the anime world. As with any genre, "good art" is always inspiring to see.

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