Little did I know twenty two years ago when I saw a series of small painterly works by Dan Callis, then a graduate student at Claremont, that this painter of sheep and the disabled would become my teacher at Biola, mentor and life long friend. When viewing his work I remember thinking, “Oh this is an artist who is a Christian that I LIKE.”
Dan has been a big brother to me in many ways encouraging me to major in studio art (rather than graphic design), and letting me use a part of his studio as my own for two years after I graduated from undergraduate. In addition he was my cheerleader and shoulder to cry upon with every rejection letter I received from graduate MFA programs I didn’t get in.
Dan and I often don’t see one another for a year or so but when we do we launch into talking about every single book or musician that we are finding of interest as of late; not only that we prattle on about every corner and aspect of our life, laughing, crying and nodding at one another in sympathy.
For a week Dan is here with me in Newberg as I teach him how to work in kiln worked glass. Kind of ironic twist in that last week I was in a glass workshop myself, and this week I’m leading one, all be it for one person. It has been a delight to see Dan revel in the colors of this media as he works to translate several of his paintings into glass form.
In December I will be going to southern California to work in his studio. My relationship with Dan is a friendship I cherish, as we have been able to connect in art and life over that span of many years. It reminds me of the medieval mindset that friendships that have the most value are those you have had the longest. There is a richness to draw upon with those blessed appointed family members indeed.
Check out more of Dan’s work at: www.dancallisart.com