Gerard Caliste was born April 27,1978 in New Orleans Louisiana. Gerard decided early on that he would never let his art talent go to waste. In 1994 he became involved in an Art Organization called Young Aspirations Young Artist, YA YA. The organization profoundly changed his life by giving him the support to develop his artistic confidence and skills. In the active years at YAYA Gerard had the opportunity to become a working artist while still in his teens. He worked under established artist such as Willie Birch and Nanette Carter. In December 1994 his designs was chosen as one of seven international artist that was commissioned to create designs that would be turn into a woven fabric by Blumenthal, which was to be replicated as fabric that would be turn into seat covers, that would cover all of the Delegates seats of the United Nations general assembly room, In honor of the United Nations 50th anniversary in 1995.
In the fall of 1997 he entered the Savannah College of Art and Design, after being award a presidential scholarship. During his studies in Savannah he was able to find a direction in his work and fine tune his style. While most of the work that he created in YA YA was of painted 3 dimensional furniture pieces such as chairs and coffee tables. Attending college was a chance to explore more traditional aspects of painting as well as artist history. After obtaining his BFA, he moved to Houston Texas to work for the public school system as an Art teacher. Teaching at a very culturally diverse school gave him another source of inspiration, seeing how his student’s art reflected who they are and often where they came from. This experience gave him a refreshed appreciation of his own work in regards to application of media and the constant figurative and narrative nature of their work served as a reminder of the way he naturally painted, and he didn’t want to lose that childlike freedom of his work. Gerard work continued to take on a more narrative theme that is the subject matter that would be reflective of the things that you would see in the urban New Orleans settling.
In 2005 Hurricane Katrina ripped through the gulf coast. The effects the storm had on the city of New Orleans push artist to use that emotion to create art. During that time he produced an extensive body of work starting with his debut series Waterlines, followed by a installation Walking on Water 2009. Through the years he produced art for companies such as MTV, Swatch Watch, United Nations and The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. His work is also in the private collections of high profile people like Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt. “In the past six years I have consciously developed my approached to expressionism which I call New American Abstract Modern Expressionism. The figurative nature of my work help embodies a presence of a human soul.
Read more about his summer residence with DVCAI: Sugarcane Magazine Feature
March 4, 2016