Calder’s work aims to explore the misogynistic zeitgeist of Scotland’s past; to highlight how far men have come, to showcase the root of this problem and how it caused a ripple that we are still navigating the waves of to this day. Calder explores from his own experiences what it means to be a man in our country, all the intangible intricacies of the specific Scottish Macho man, and how male role models in his life have shaped him into the man he is today and how these figures have succeeded, and failed.

Hi Calder. What element of the show’s theme did you connect with the most? How did that connection manifest artistically?
Well, the theme of Scottishness has been the backbone of my work for quite some time now. More specifically the topic of Masculinity and its relationship to our country’s culture. More the men that live in this strange country and the even stranger ways they show their manliness. Pulling from stories and things that men in my life have taught me that are shaped by this culture of Scottish masculinity. The old sayings that your grandad would have learnt growing up, now being drilled into you, shaping you into the macho kilt wearing Scottish man that you are today. 

How has your practice changed overtime?
I’ve always liked painting and portrait work. Over time my interest with text has grown and more recently dwindled. I think it can be an interesting avenue to convey meaning but as I’ve matured I find it a bit on the nose. I’d like to think that I’ve matured as an artist, trying not to confine myself to one medium or one strict method of storytelling. I instead now like to present an open-ended question. Let the guy on the other side of the canvas do the talking. 

What emotions do you hope viewers experience when they see your artwork?
I hope viewers feel some sort of familiarity through my work. I find often through exploring specific personal stories, the viewer can in turn relate a part of their own lived experience to the story of the work. I think the more specific the more connected you can be to such a story. I also want people to laugh a little, and be proud to be Scottish. Humour is such a huge part of what keeps our country ticking over and I want people to realise the ridiculousness of it all and more specifically the people that inhabit it. 

Which artists inspire you? Are there non-artistic influences such as literature or music that impact your work?
Of course, there are artists that I love and that really do inspire my work. But I really find that the people around me are my biggest influence. The mundane, the snapshot moments that seem insignificant. Just all the little things that add up to make art worth making. 

Are there any upcoming events or additional information you would like the audience to know about?
Yes! I am about to finish studying fine art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee. Our end of year degree show will be held on the 24th of May and if you have any interest in amazing art made by the best artists this side of the Tay, then you’ll be in for a treat. Get yourself down to DJCAD on the 24th of May.

See Calders’s work at our first Open Call of the year, MulticulturAlba, running at Six Foot Gallery until Thursday 14th March 2023. You can also find him on Instagram @calder_mackay_art

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