About Luciano Calderon
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Luciano Calderon (b.1986) is a painter based in Switzerland and Argentina. Calderon’s work addresses what he has observed in the world around him. His adolescent years were divided between the pristine Swiss capital Bern, and the grimy but lively ghetto of El Alto, Bolivia. The extreme contrast of cultures he was surrounded by sharpened Calderon’s sociological view, giving him both a foreigner’s and a native’s frame of reference.
His work exceeds commenting on the life he and his friends lead; it reveals his perspective as an empathetic observer of the cross cultural social dynamics he is emersed in. He re-presents the social and political issues, like gentrification of urban neighborhoods and police corruption, through images and text, often boldly headlining the painting with these statements.
He utilizes exaggerated figures and outspoken graphics to express his feelings of isolation from society and mistrust of the law. In other works Calderon subtly weaves a clever subtext into the image, as seen in Hormigón armado, 2010 (“armed ant”), an abstract portrait of a homeless person, named after the newspaper of street children of La Paz, Bolivia. The typography he references is typical to South America, inspired by the pixação from Brazil and the tattoo style of the notorious Mara Salvatrucha; he also looks to bright and bold style of traditional Bolivian weaving and craft, referenced in his color palate and patterns.
Although often dark and politically weighted, Calderon presents his work through a playful lens, using bright colors and over stated features of the subjects to add an element of satire to the artwork.
As well as a practicing artist, Calderon is also the creator of the streetwear brand Low Life Clothes, and Latin Low Life, utilizing subversive images from his artwork with a loud, youthful exuberance. He has worked as the editor for Nonstop MagazineClout Magazine (US) and Kind Regards (Amsterdam).
Calderon lives and works in Villa 31, the most well-known informal settlement located in Downtown, Buenos Aires. After several fruitless attempts to transplant the inhabitants to the outskirts of the city, it’s now in the process of being transformed from a slum to a “regular” district.