When I first came across Gabrielle Callan’s work on Tumblr (listed under @gabbycallan), I was immediately reminded of art you might find in a Victorian newspaper. Not just because they don’t shy away from making something beautiful out of the eerie … quite the contrary, in fact … but because of the bold, precise line work that serves as shadows and highlights in place of simple, solid colors. The detail and precision would be at home in any hallowed hand of artists from that time depicting Jack the Ripper’s last exploits, but here, for us, they are fresh and crisp and decidedly more arcane.
There’s something almost Biblical to some of the pieces. Not in a Sunday school way, but in a more ancient, “BE NOT AFRAID”, gnostic way that might lead you past church pews and into cave shrines. Into places where you’ll light stumps of candles and pray at reliquaries housing the rotting remnants of a saint whose name only you now know. If you grew up Christian and left to seek out more winding paths, this art will feel like both home and a revelation to you.
With rare exception, the pieces are almost always black and white, making fantastic use of empty space to better highlight the sweeping flow of lines. If you marveled at the floating, swaying hair the ghosts had Del Toro’s “Crimson Peak”, you’ll appreciate the same suggestion of movement in these homages to subjects from Hecate to the concept of Infinity. Per an interview with them), they started off as an oil painter and now prefer to work in pen or ink on paper.
Personally? This level of detail and dark, esoteric subject matter is something I would love to have tattooed on me. The only problem would be (assuming they were open to fans having the work tattooed) choosing one … or which half dozen … to get.
Callan’s account on Tumblr appears to be relatively new…it’s very under viewed at the moment, with no entry yet cracking 100 likes/reblogs. They appear to be much more active on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and can also be found here) if you want to pick up some of their amazing prints.