mixed media on canvas, 28in. x 28in., 2019.

   This piece started off with more of a way to work around an extremely frustrating artist block. I had let myself fully paint with no intention of this work to become a broken-down self-portrait, but this is nevertheless what it had become. Representing the cloudiness and murkiness of what it feels like to be without any creative inspiration, I see this painting, as a comeback. To this day, it remains a personal favourite.


acrylic on canvas, 18in. x 24in., 2019.

    With 22, I seek to portray the trance-like mental state one may enter when deeply engaged with a task. For this piece, I focused on the “daze” I experience while listening to music and partaking in creative activities. Multiple grounds (the window partitioning the background, the orange door on the left providing a foreground) represent different phases of this mental state.

Follow My Voice

acrylic and pastel on canvas, 12in. x 36in., 2020.

    Three physical aspects of the caterpillar ground this work: the details of its body, its colouring, and its patterning. To represent the pupa stage of a caterpillar’s life, a portion of the canvas is woven, with various organic shapes representing the many patterns the caterpillar dons.
    Through these shapes, I reference the daily activities of a caterpillar: the remnants of a leaf following its consumption, and the eye-shaped patterning some caterpillars wear, akin to snake eyes, to fend off predators. Thinking still of the variety to the caterpillar species, the carefully rendered tactile surface mimics the hair on certain types of caterpillars.


cardboard, acrylic paint, confetti, dimensions variable, 2020.

    Combing ‘fnck’ and the song, it became a reaction to this process of unavoidable change in the near future and the amount of responsibilities that will ultimately be put on the person simply because they survived another year.
    I wanted to take elements of a celebration of someone’s birthday with the harsh word. The n being wrapped in tape as physical censorship but also represent the suppression we put on ourselves.
    I am only 18 years old, although there may be people who will be much older than me and invalidating my experiences and trouble with aging, I think the transition you have from a teenager to expected adult is the hardest on someone. Your Teenage years are, to some, the best years and now you feel a hard obligation to change your ways.
    And my only reaction to that is ‘fnck.’

We Are

watercolour and ink on paper, 10in. x 11in., 2018.

    With equality in mind, We Are comes from the imperative to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. I employ facial features as a physical, human image to allow an entry through relatability.

John Louie Calara is an emerging artist currently studying in Ontario College of Art and Design University’s (OCAD U’s) Drawing & Painting program. Calara’s interests lie mainly in the figurative, exploring their portrayals through various mediums—typically oil and acrylic.