Paul Calle Biography
Paul Calle is a man who has seen history unfold, not only with his eyes, but with his imagination as well. Blessed with prodigious artistic gifts, Calle records these moments for posterity, conveying all of the color, intensity and drama that he envisions.
His magnificent art portrays the human spirit, paying tribute to the trailblazers - the first astronauts or those largely forgotten and unsung heroes, the North American trappers of the early 1800's. These were the men who blazed trails through mountains, navigating unnamed rivers, trapping in lonely streams and meadows. Desprite their rough existence, they carried the Bible and Shakespeare with them to read around the camfire at day's end. They lived solirary lives, and most of them died unknown, before the age of 35, with records of their exploits, discoveries and stories unrecorded. Calle's art celebrates their quiet courage and rugged dignity amid the frontier wilderness. Not only is he able to envision how scenes from their lives might have looked, but he renders his visions with elaborate detail and historical accuracy. It's one of the aspects he loves most about his chosen prefession: "Through my interests, I'm able to put down for the future, and the present, those things that I love. I can leave something behind, and that's a unique privilege. I sometimes wonder how many artists died unknown, just like the trappers."
Calle's art fills a void in our visual history. With his pencils and his oils, he captures scenes that preceded film, with results that no camera could ever duplicate. NASA recognized Calle's unique ability to interpret history. In the sixties, he was commissioned to document America's early space missions. Millions witnessed those historic moments when man first set foot on the moon. They watched as shadowy black-and-white images of the astronauts bobbed across their televisions in 1969. But with his mind's eye, Calle saw the moment in color. His painting, "The Great Moment", conveys its magnitude, capturing not only the image, but the emotion as well.
Calle paints man in relation to his environment, moments when man pauses, alone, to consider his surroundings. "The faces tell the story," he says. Like a good book, the art of Paul Calle draws you in, to experience the moment. "My paintings convey a certain period of history. Collectors tell me that they feel that they could be there; that they could be sitting around the campfire in 'Fireside Companions' or in the scene with 'The Storyteller of the Mountains'. They're buying an emotional feeling. I convey what I see, and it attracts them to my work."
Calle's painstaking attention to detail involves hours of research, collecting historic artifacts and retracing the footsteps of his subjects, all before committing the scene to pencil on paper or oil on panel. Still, Calle, a disciplined artist and a perfectionist, is never completely satisfied with his spectacular results.
"As an artist, you always see little things you might have done differently. But the secret is the next one. You go as far as you can with a painting and always go on to the next painting. It doesn't matter what you've painted, an artist is never satisfied. There is always something you can do better . . . possibly you're saving it for the next painting. It's a constant balancing act. You say to yourself, 'But the next one, by God...'"
Paul Calle records the past with his sights set on the future. With so vast a body of work, he is often asked which of his paintings is his favorite. But like the trapper from long ago, he is restless to know what lies beyond the next mountain. "The next one," he replies. "It's the next one I'm always thinking about."