ARTisSpectrum Vol.34, November 2015

ARTisSpectrum | Volume 34 | 82 T he places and people that give New York City its unique personality—from Central Park to Coney Island—are the building blocks of Paul Calabrese’s lively, appealing body of work. Working in graphite and art markers on board, Calabrese takes environments that are emblematic of the city and turns them into intricate compositions that pulse with the rhythms of urban life, creating a personal reflection of how those people and places affect him. With their wealth of detail, Calabrese’s pictures continually offer up something new for the viewer, making each composition seem somehow different upon every viewing. The artist’s work makes effective use of precisely drawn lines, vibrant colors and a strong feel for proportion and scale. The buildings and human figures in his pictures are convincingly realistic, but they have a whimsical air. Skyscrapers will bend and swirl as if dancing to music, and characters will be depicted with an almost cartoonish glee. Calabrese then employs those people and landmarks in many-layered compositions that can seem to verge on chaos, but always resolve into balanced, harmonious environments that bring all of their many threads perfectly together. Raised in Brooklyn, Calabrese uses New York’s limitless cultural variety as the inspiration for the mixture of bustling energy and the complex orchestration of objects and actions that characterize his pictures. “I work with pencils and markers, and none of my characters come out exactly the same, just as no two people are exactly the same,” he says. “I try to catch the diversity of my city and the people in it with each picture I create.” That celebration of the variety that can be found on New York’s streets gives his work its focus, and the artist’s sure-handed technique brings that variety vividly to life. Paul Calabrese The Lending Tree Art Markers & Graphite on Board 19” x 23” New Year City Art Markers & Graphite on Board 22” x 30” Paul Calabrese in his Studio