Featured Artist Marcus Callum

Realist painter Marcus Callum creates expressive and insightful portraits that capture the subject’s inner thoughts. Visit his website to see more of his work.


Oil portrait of a young woman named Meg by Marcus Callum

“Meg” Oil on Linen, 102cm x 76cm


Fusing traditional painting techniques with a contemporary aesthetic, I try to convey a sense of psychological insight in my work. Buddhism, meditation, hypnosis and our understanding of the subconscious influence my process and subject matter.


Left panel of a Triptych titled Samsara by Marcus Callum

“Samsara” (Triptych – Left Panel) Oil on Polyester, 152cm x 91cm

“Samsara” (Triptych – Right Panel) Oil on Polyester, 152cm x 91cm


“Samsara,” the title of a large triptych painting, refers to a Sanskrit word meaning the passage through life, death and rebirth. Within Buddhist philosophy “Samsara” signifies the false and anxious state in which most humans exist. This disconnection from reality and suffering on the individual level is at the heart of the global malaise causing violence, war, and annihilation.


Center panel of the Samsara triptych by Marcus Callum

“Samsara” (Triptych – Center Panel) Oil on Polyester, 152cm x 91cm


The central panel depicts a landscape symbolic of the organic and “perfect” world in which we continuously wage war on each other. The aftermath of all wars live on in our collective memories long after “peace” is declared, just as the empty shells of armour live on inhabited only by ghosts of an unconscious past.


Oil portrait of a man looking up by Marcus Callum

“All The Light We Cannot See” Oil on Dibond, 61cm x 81cm


Each painting can take months to complete, so the process is a meditation.


Oil portrait of a man titled Lez by Marcus Callum

“Lez” Oil on Dibond, 122cm x 86cm


With a portrait, I want a likeness but the aim isn’t to merely copy. At a certain point, I let go of accuracy and allow imagination to takeover. I want to translate my subject’s thoughts into the work.


Oil portrait of a young man titled Sebastian III by Marcus Callum

“Sebastian III” Oil on Linen, 50cm x 57cm


I want you to know who they are, what they’re thinking, and to foster empathy between the artist, the viewer and the subject.


Artist Marcus Callum being featured as the Sky Portrait Artist of the Year

Artist Marcus Callum being featured as the Sky Portrait Artist of the Year


By using traditional painting techniques of glazing, scumbling and sfumato, I’m able to control how the painting is viewed and to a certain extent, how it feels to view. These methods allow a painter to imbue the 2D plane with an emotional charge.


Symbolic oil painting by Marcus Callum

“Prayer for a Mutilated World” Oil on Dibond, 102cm x 52cm


Paintings are a history of moments fused into one image, a history of paint layers added day after day, a history of my feelings in response to the subject, a history of the subject as it changes day to day—its past, its present and its future. It’s like compressing all the stills from a movie into one image that now embodies all of the images in one.


Oil portrait of the profile of a man tinted in green by Marcus Callum

“The Green Man” Oil on Dibond, 58.5cm x 60cm


When a painting is finished, it has an energy of its own—separate to the original idea but also connected to it. In his book A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle describes how flowers have traditionally been associated with spiritual realisation and act as messengers from the transcendental realm.


Oil portrait of Marcus Callum by Marcus Callum

“Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” Oil on Canvas, 60cm x 80cm


I think paintings also act as portals and communicate a deeper sense of presence.


Artist Marcus Callum invites you to follow him on Instagram and Facebook.


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  1. Jan Gierat says

    Great technique, very lovely!

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