Themes, emotions and visions represented in an elaborate multifaceted format. The whimsical sensation of an eclectic fusion of color, shapes and textures. The story told by a single button. These are a few of the features exemplified in the artwork of, Beau McCall. Drawing inspiration from the vast button collection of his mother and aunts, he crafts art images combining various materials such as mother of pearl, wool and decorative buttons. With deliberate focus the buttons are arranged to stimulate one’s curiosity and imagination, while simultaneously drawing attention to the unique history of buttons. Thereby McCall’s work generates a discussion surrounding many topics such as class, race and politics.
As a creative artist, McCall began his career in Harlem after arriving from his native, Philadelphia with nothing more than two hundred dollars, a duffel bag and a few buttons in his pocket from home. Two years later he made his critically acclaimed debut with wearable art at the Black Fashion Museum show for Harlem Week. McCall went on to become an established force within the Black Fashion Museum collective presenting at their shows consecutively for ten years, as well being featured in their museum exhibition and prestigious events. During this time, McCall’s visually captivating work was featured in the fashion bible, Women’s Wear Daily and on PBS. Since then McCall has begun to focus solely on creating visual art. McCall is also a noted creative arts expert providing commentary for media outlets such as Rolling Out magazine, MadameNoire.com and AtlantaPost.com. McCall remains committed to channeling and contributing to the universal cultural legacy one button at a time.
Buttons are a universal fastener connecting the world through an everyday item. Yet, throughout history and modernity buttons vary in their design illustrating distinctions of class systems, political views and cultural norms. I generate a dialogue by translating the visual language of buttons to expand art out of its traditional context, stimulate the imagination and unbutton one’s inner thoughts surrounding themes from pop culture to social justice.
Layman’s Terms: A button is more than just a button.