Since he picked up the camera, Callan Blachowski has never put it down. The Milwaukee-based visual artist has had a prolific career thus far and seems to be in a perpetual state of creative output. From producing music to filming documentaries to shooting different photo series, it seems as if he has no shortage of creative energy. When we conversed, it was clear to see his vision in the way he spoke: calm, but passionate. It’s undeniable that Blachowski has found his calling behind the lens.
Blachowski grew up in an art-filled household. His grandmother was a nature photographer and her beautiful shots lined the walls of their Wisconsin home. His mother was also an artistic soul, doubling as a graphic designer and a part-time art teacher. He speaks fondly on the art emphasis in the home and credits it as a safe environment to explore different artistic ventures. When asked about his inspirations, Blachowski sat back and pondered on the question for a beat. He took a sip from his water bottle. He adjusted his beanie. Then he responded, “If I didn’t do it, I wouldn't be happy. And that's the truth.”
As a Wisconsin native, Blachowski has always used his environment as inspiration. He spent early childhood in Wauwatosa, a suburb of Milwaukee, and at age 10 moved to a rural area near the state’s capital, Madison. His surroundings changed and he soon became engrossed in studying the architecture and nature around. For a long time, he didn’t realize how the world around him was influencing his creative vision, but as he reflects he sees the intricate designs of the Wisconsin countryside reflected in his early works. Another aspect of his home that Blachowski works to channel into his art is the genuine nature of Wisconsinites. “Everyone is very real here. I try to capture that realness.”
Artists are self-critical. It’s in their nature. They know there are things they could have done better and there are things they wish they could redo or get rid of entirely. These are their creative regrets. Blachowski’s? Not stepping out of his comfort zone. “Those people who instantly experiment— become great immediately. Being satisfied with your work is the scariest thing as an artist. Your peers may like it, but if you’re satisfied with where you are, you aren’t growing.”
We then began to speak on art’s definition. He couldn’t truly answer, even after scratching his head and another sip of water. Then he said, “Art is so many things: every time I think about it it's something different.” He went on to say that art is his purpose, that it is a necessity, and that it’s become his life.
To read the rest of Cal's exclusive interview, purchase Issue One of Aspirants (available now)!