Life inspires art for new Saanich father

Caleb Speller’s show Patina will be at Polychrome Fine Art from July 23 to Aug. 6

Caleb Speller in his Saanich art studio

Caleb Speller in his Saanich art studio

Eight days prior to the opening of Caleb Speller’s newest art show, the Saanich resident is at peace in his Sayward Road studio.

Sunshine floods the cabin-like structure. Built from scavenged and second-hand wood, it’s a fitting testament to the woods surrounding it. While it’s big enough for a couple of trucks, it was made with two purposes – to double as Speller’s art studio and as a place to rebuild bikes, an ongoing outlet from his bike mechanic past.

Speller’s opening is 7 p.m. Thursday (July 23) for Patina, at Polychrome Fine Art (977a Fort St.), where it will show until Aug. 6.

While the show will end, Patina has already become the most powerful influence in Speller’s life, as his wife Rachel gave birth to the couple’s first child, a daughter, on July 1.

“When we were cycling through names Patina just struck us both, we loved it for a girl,” Speller said.

So baby Patina is here, and so is a show in her honour.

“Nine months in the making for both,” Speller added. “I didn’t realize it at first but a lot of the art for the show, particularly the ceramics, is the culmination of the inspiration from family and having our first baby.”

The anticipation of seeing life through a child’s eyes brought out a series of playful works from the 32-year-old new father.

Light bounced off the white bisque of yet-to-be-painted zoo animals, each smaller than a fist.

“They’re simple in shape because I gave myself a limit of five minutes for each one and then stopped myself, the same way a kid would,” Speller said. “This is about children and how they so immediately accept something.”

The show will feature a variety of styles, including paper collages done by scissor, and some wearable design fashion from a collaboration with Toronto’s Toy and Ming, including a photo shoot based on the works.

Speller’s work is also known among the Victoria cycling community as he  salvages popular vintage frames and rebuilds them from scratch. His bikes are sometimes repainted with only a Dingus logo, and are available through Russ Hays, The Bicycle Store.