East London artist RYCA has described his artistic life as encompassing something of a “schizophrenic divide.” Under his real name of Ryan Callanan, he is renowned for taking classic iconography such as acid smileys and giving them a new context using the skills he developed whilst working as a 3D sign maker. A selection of these were recently displayed by TAG Fine Arts at AAF Battersea.The other side of the artist’s output is the work he produces under his alias RYCA, which is currently being shown in a solo exhibition, REFRESH, at the Robert Fontaine Gallery, Miami.
The title of the exhibition has a double meaning. It firstly refers to the way the artist brings together imagery, as he adopts classic pop art images and ‘refreshes’ them with popular culture references. He does this using a street art ‘formula’ he developed under the influence of artists including Shephard Fairey and Banksy.
REFRESH also denotes the F5 button on a computer keyboard, which is used to 'refresh' the screen, something that RYCA has explained comes in handy when bidding on ebay for Star Wars memorabilia (he has described the film series as being a potentially “valid religion.”)
Together the new works in the show have been described as a series of ‘visual jokes,’ where art historical reference points and popular culture collide, taking the viewer on a journey into RYCA's nostalgic world.