Calvin Lai would be the first to admit that the evolution of his art has taken many machinations. His painting process
has matured into a mixture of seeing, distorting, and reinterpreting with the threads of realism weaving the backdrop of
where his artistic style is today. As a child, drawing was something Calvin loved, and to make a picture appear lifelike
became his goal. Through constantly working, Calvin’s art began to breath, and his fascination with value and
perspective blossomed. Eventually, he moved from where he grew up in Los Angeles to San Francisco. There he studied
drawing and printmaking at San Francisco State University. In 2008, he enrolled in the Academy of Art for illustration,
but began painting instead. He found that he preferred the fine arts over commercial illustration, and now works as a
full time oil painter.
Since then he has continued to develop and refine his oil painting skills. Lai’s work has been shown nationally in
galleries, group exhibitions, and juried shows. He has executed a large number of commissioned portraits over the past
several years, and his paintings have appeared in national and international publications. His recent work has returned
to a serious study of the figure, which has always been the anchor for his creative drive. His goal has gone beyond mere
technical interpretations to a deeper sense of what the energy of the figure feels like. This goal has also carried over into
his recent still lifes. In his ongoing series, “In the Land of Giants,” Calvin seeks to make a viewer feel as if they are
immersed within the still life witnessing a world that is both fantastical and humorous. But the borders for what he
chooses to paint has expanded to a variety of subjects, including cityscapes, and ultimately he is driven to capture
everything around him through his paints, brushes, and determination.

 

Solo Exhibitions

2021
Intimate Limbo, Abend Gallery, Denver CO
2015
Divergent Tendencies, 625 Sutter Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2014
Art Murmur, Awaken Cafe, Oakland, CA
2012
The Pour House, San Francisco, CA

Group Exhibitions

2021
Animalia III, Abend Gallery, Denver, CO
The Portrait Show IX, Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Delicious, Studio Gallery, San Francisco, CA
8x8s at the LA Art Show, Abend Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
International Biennial Portrait Competition 2021, Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, Wausau, WI
Contemporary Figuration, Abend Gallery, Denver, CO
2020
El Regreso de Disconlandia, 111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco, CA
30th Annual Mini Show, Abend Gallery, Denver, CO
Tiny Show, Studio Gallery, San Francisco, CA
The Art of the Nude, 33 Contemporary, Online exhibit
Body Study, Artsolation, Online exhibit
Urban/Rural, Studio Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2019
Progression, Palette Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Resolution, Palette Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2018
Small Works Holiday Show, Christian Daniels Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Cityscapes 2018, Christian Daniels Gallery, San Francisco, CA
People and Places, Christian Daniels Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Streets of San Francisco, Christian Daniels Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Spring Showcase 2018, Christian Daniels Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Urban Landscapes 2018, Christian Daniels Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2017
Cats Vs. Dogs, The Vendue, Charleston SC
Art Auction, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento CA
Urbana Contra Naturaleza, Wonderland SF, San Francisco, CA
In Dreams, Spoke NYC, New York, NY
Lover’s Eye, Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2016
The Best of America, National Oil & Painters’ Acrylic Society, Addison Art Gallery, Orleans, MA
Fall Gallery Night, Art Room, exhibited at Brik, Fort Worth, TX
Anniversary Show, Wonderland SF, San Francisco, CA

Portraits of Friends, Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Art Auction, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA
2015
Wes Anderson Art Show, Spoke Art, exhibited at Joseph Gross Gallery, New York, NY
Never, Never, Ever Land, Wonderland SF, San Francisco, CA
Portraits of Strangers, Someones, and Nobodies, 111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2013
Wanderlust, Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Chillin’ Productions Annual Holiday Show, 111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco, CA
The Seven Deadly Sins, Wonderland SF, San Francisco, CA
SmithKlein Gallery, Boulder, CO
ODC Theater, San Francisco, CA
2012
Notorious, Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Art Matters Encore! San Marino League, San Marino, CA
2011
Character, Million Fishes Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Academy of Art Spring Show, Academy of Art University, San Francisco, CA
2010
Faces and Figures, Pacific Art League, Palo Alto, CA

Education

2008 – 12 MA, Academy of Art, San Francisco, CA
1991 – 97 BA, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
Publications

2021
How Artists See Themselves, December 2021, Fine Art Connoisseur
An Interview with Calvin Lai, September 2021, The Flying Fruit Bowl
https://theflyingfruitbowl.co.uk/2021/09/22/tffb-18-calvin-lai/
Local Stories, September 2021, Shoutout LA,
https://shoutoutla.com/meet-calvin-lai-fine-art-oil-painter/
Feature, May 2021, The Curator’s Salon Magazine
Raves & Resistance: Counterculture Stories, The London Reader
2020
Issue 37, September 2020, The Guide Artists Magazine
2018
The Artist’s Magazine Annual Art Competition, The Artist’s Magazine
2016
The Artist’s Magazine Annual Art Competition, Southwest Art
Vogue’s Gallery, British Vogue March Edition
2013
Back cover, Harmonica Happenings
The Artist’s Magazine Annual Art Competition, Southwest Art
Awards

2021
1st place, Bold Brush Painting Competition January 2021. FASO Fine Art Studio Online
2020
Top 25 Finalists. 2020 Artist & Selfie Painting Competition. Fine Art Connoisseur
2018
Honorabel Mention. The Artist’s Magazine’s Annual Art Competition. The Artist’s Magazine
Honorable Mention – Painting Category. Cityscapes Art Exhibition. Light, Space and Time Online Art Gallery

2017
First Place/ The Bold Brush Award. Bold Brush Painting Competition December 2017. FASO Fine Art Studio Online
Finalist. Bold Brush Painting Competition October 2017, FASO Fine Art Studio Online
Fellowship. Clark Hulings Fund Busniess Accelerator Program, https://clarkhulingsfund.org
2016
Finalist. 12th International ARC Salon, Art Renewal Center, Port Reading, NJ
Merit Award. Best of America, National Oil & Acrylic Painter’s Society, Bella Vista, AR
Finalist. The Artist’s Magazine’s Annual Art Competition, The Artist’s Magazine, Ash, OH
2015
Finalist. The Artist’s Magazine’s Annual Art Competition, The Artist’s Magazine, Ash, OH
3rd place Painting Category. Figurative 2015 Art Exhibition, Light, Space and Time Online Art Gallery
6th place Overall Category. Figurative 2015 Art Exhibition, Light, Space and Time Online Art Gallery
Finalist. Bold Brush Painting Competition, FASO Fine Art Studio Online
2012
Finalist. The Artist’s Magazine’s Annual Art Competition, The Artist’s Magazine, Ash, OH

Professional Experience

2016
Bold Brush Painting Competition. Guest judge for April 2016. Sponsored by FASO
Portrait artist for Wavy Gravy
2011 – Present
Commissioned portrait artist

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