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BIOGRAPHY

Javier Calleja rose to fame in the art world as a result of his instantly recognized figurative works, which frequently feature squat, wide-eyed creatures with exaggerated proportions. The Spanish artist's practice includes painting, sculpture, works on paper, editioned work, and commerce. Calleja has exhibited in galleries in prominent cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, New York, Paris, and Hong Kong. His art has been bought by a variety of public collections around Spain. Calleja's secondary-market record was broken in March 2021, when his 2019 artwork Waiting for a While sold for an impressive US$1.1 million. Though he draws on personal experience and childhood memories to create his iconic characters, Calleja prefers not to explain his work, preferring to let the spectator "finish" it with their own interpretations.

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Born in Malaga in 1971, Javier Calleja graduated from Granada University with a bachelor's degree in fine arts in 2000. At the age of 31, he finished his artistic training while still pursuing his Olympic dreams as a gymnast.

It is not by chance that Calleja's artwork makes references to fictitious and cartoon characters; he acknowledged that comic books, cartoons, and toys from when he was a child were among his early artistic influences.

"Growing up in the 70s and 80s, my biggest influences were cartoons and comics. In particular Mazinger Z cartoons and Francisco Ibáñez Talavera’s comics. Inspired by those two, I started drawing as a child, so my work developed from there and still carries some of those characteristics," he remarks.

Javier Calleja's instantly recognized figurative works, which frequently depict squat, wide-eyed creatures with exaggerated proportions, launched him to stardom in the art world. Painting, sculpture, works on paper, as well as a variety of editioned artwork and merchandise, are all a part of the Spanish artist's collection.

Among other significant cities, Calleja has exhibited in galleries in Madrid, Barcelona, New York, Paris, and Hong Kong. His art has been bought by a variety of public collections around Spain. Calleja's secondary-market record was broken in March 2021 when his 2019 painting Waiting for a While sold for US$1.1 million.

Although Calleja's work has a seemingly straightforward look, he cleverly alters commonplace events to produce surprise and amusing art. In an effort to achieve simplicity and immediacy, he employs the aesthetic tropes of cartoons and the imagery from children's books in his paintings, drawings, and sculptures.

Along with comic books, pop art and surrealism also have an effect on Javier Calleja's artwork. The artist urges the audience to participate in amusing settings, to participate in his ironies, or to react to the disproportionate sizes that suggest a fantastical Alice in Wonderland effect.

Most of Calleja's paintings and sketches of his imaginative and bright-eyed creatures are inextricably linked to the work of blue chip Japanese artist Yoshimoto Nara, who depicts children and animals that are both charming and evil at the same time, with their eyes as a prominent feature. In truth, Calleja's art is considerably different, particularly in terms of his use of color, deterioration of materials, items from our everyday lives, and the darkly funny lines he makes as an essential component of the finished artwork.

Calleja has held solo shows in 22 galleries and 5 museums across the world, including Hong Kong, Greece, Germany, Tokyo, Spain, Rome, and London. Additionally, the artist exhibits at numerous galleries and fairs, including ARCO Madrid, Art Basel Hong Kong, ZONAMACO, and Art Brussels. Juxtapoz, Hypebeast, and other international art journals have published his work. Now residing and working in Málaga, Spain, is the artist.

In Madrid, Spain, Rafael Pérez Hernando is Javier Calleja's agent and gallery. The most current exhibition of Javier Calleja's art is I did, I do, I will do, which is being held at Aishonanzuka in Hong Kong from November 14 to December 20, 2019. The Clouds Through The Window show at Galerie Zink Waldkirchen in Waldkirchen in der Oberpfalz, Germany, also featured artwork by Javier Calleja (25 May 2019 - 20 July 2019).

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