Man of Many Mediums
Call it versatility or maybe it’s just plain curiosity, one thing is for sure: Trent Call likes to create. And he does so with a diversity that’s pretty atypical. Just this year, in fact, his commissions and just-for-fun projects have included murals, signs, oil paintings, photography, screen printing and a very cool letter and number animation series based on the global graphic design challenge, 36daysoftype.com. We sat down with Call, who was born and raised in Salt Lake City, to chat about his inspirations, why he loves to dabble in so many mediums and one of his latest projects:
shedding light on old Salt Lake City.
When did you first get interested in making art?
“I started drawing when I was a little kid, which then was a lot of skateboard graphics and cartoons. And then I always had a lot of support to be creative. My parents are both artists – my mom used to be a jewelry artist and my dad, who has an MA in sculpture, designs and builds furniture. I went to Highland High and Pat Eddington (a beloved art teacher who passed away in 2016) had a big influence on me, too.”
You work in multiple mediums, which is pretty unusual for a professional artist. Why instead of painting murals and fine art oil paintings and graphic design, etc., do you not choose just one?
“I’ve always been interested in experimenting with multiple mediums. I like the challenge and it keeps the work from getting boring. I’d dabbled with my mom’s oil paints in high school but it wasn’t until I was in college (Call earned a BFA from the University of Utah in 2004.) that I really learned the craft. When I quit my frame shop job to be a full-time artist in 2006, I was doing a lot of portrait commissions. Now I have paintings in the 15th Street Gallery (1500 E. 1519 South, SLC) and Trove Gallery (804 Main St, Park City), and I am working on a commission for a gallery in Chicago. The screen printing came from doing gig posters for shows, mostly at Kilby Court. And the illustration work led to painting murals, which I really like doing because they are collaborative (Call works with frequently with local artist Mike Murdock.) and usually we have the freedom to paint what we want.”
Where are some of your murals located?
“Probably my best known is the Jazz mural, which is downtown across from the Eccles Theater. Other murals I have downtown include in the alley behind Eva’s Bakery, behind FICE Gallery (as seen to the left) and across the street from Laziz Kitchen. I’ve also done several murals for Even Stevens sandwich shops. And I have a mural in Park City in the rail trail tunnel that runs under Bonanza and Deer Valley Drive.”
What are some other ways that you keep the creative juices flowing?
“Earlier this year I did this graphic design challenge where I animated every letter of the alphabet and all nine numbers—one a day for 36 days. It was really fun because for each letter and number I would just do the first idea I came up with. And then, because I feel like so many of the buildings used to be in Salt Lake City when I was growing up here are now being town to make way for new construction, I like to look for photos of these places and post them on @forgotten_slc on Instagram. The building photos I post aren’t anything with any notable historic value, they are just places that used to be part of the landscape here that are no longer around like the Milk Depot gas station (900 S. 140 East), Samuel’s Garage (400 South) and State Street’s Centre Theater.”
Trent Call works out of his studio in Salt Lake City’s Granary District. For more about Call and his art, visit trentcall.com.
See Trent Call at work in these videos: Mural painting with Mike Murdock at Kilby Court, A time-lapse video of one of Call’s oil paintings, and Trent’s participation in 36daysoftype.com, a social media-based project that challenged designers, illustrators and graphic artists to express their interpretation of numbers and letter of the alphabet.