Thursday, May 25, 2017     Volume: 31, Issue: 44

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New Times / Art

The following article was posted on February 3rd, 2011, in the New Times - Volume 25, Issue 27 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [] - Volume 25, Issue 27

Caleb Barefoot gets his feet wet

This Templeton artist's first solo show is designed to knock your socks off


Caleb Barefoot’s Downpour is somewhat reminiscent of works by British artist Eelus, whom Barefoot cites as inspiration.

Words form Caleb Barefoot’s head: “Designer.” “Punk.” “Liar.” “Explorer.”

His right nostril is “Rebel.” “Dreamer” shapes his left brow.

“I was just using labels that people use for themselves,” the artist said of his typographical self-portrait. “It’s the good with the bad.”

“I was just using labels that people use for themselves,” the graphic artist said, explaining his typographical self-portrait. “Not just one of those words is going to describe that person. And it’s the good with the bad; it’s not just going to be all good things.”

When you consider that the contrast of positive and negative elements is also a key principle of design, the statement becomes unexpectedly profound. Equal parts positive and negative are required to make a whole image—or whole person, if you want to make that leap.

This image won third place in a Morro Bay art contest—in the photography category. Who knows what it would have done in an actual graphic design category?

Hailing from Templeton, Barefoot cites Banksy, Eelus, and David Carson as his personal heroes, and there’s an echo of each of them in his work. Pieces like Downpour, comparable to British street artist Eelus’ Not Everything Is So Black and White, manage to retain their individuality while nodding to genre greats. Barefoot’s wordy self-portrait is a highly personal work, yet clearly inspired by David Carson’s typographical masterpieces.

A friend’s bootlegged copy of Photoshop changed everything for a young Barefoot, whose focus had previously been on making music.

Invert Sk8 is another Barefoot creation, currently on display at West End.

I had no idea what it was about. I did a few basic tutorials on it, and this light bulb clicked. Just blew down walls,” he said. “And I was like, ‘This program is basically limitless.’ So I started messing around with it a whole lot. And I started to consider graphic design.”

Barefoot, 23, now holds two degrees—in music performance and graphic design—from Cuesta College. Though he was accepted to Otis College of Art and Design in Santa Monica in the fall of 2010, Barefoot stuck around San Luis Obispo County, unable to get the money together to attend that school. He now plans to transfer in the fall of this year.

Wretch, scholar, idiot, friend
Caleb Barefoot’s graphic art hangs at West End Espresso and Tea, 670 Higuera in SLO through February. Most pieces are for sale; prices range from $80 to $100. For more information, call 543-4902.

Barefoot’s Technicolor zebras, typographical self-portrait, and storm-resistant girl—hanging through the month at West End Espresso and Tea—represent a few of the different places his creativity has taken him.

Soon enough, though, that creativity is bound to take him out of Templeton. Let’s hope this time, financial storm clouds won’t stand in the way of a bright future.

Arts Editor Anna Weltner’s back left molar is “Feisty.” Contact her at