Enter Sandi Calistro's Gallery

Sandi Calistro understands the pressure of being a custom tattoo artist. In this highly under-valued profession, you only get one shot. It is incredibly intimate, the work is permanent and the levels of trust involved rival any in the spectrum of human relations. It is probably on account of this exact experience in the tattoo world that Calistro is ready to turn a corner in the art world.

Sometimes you round a much-anticipated corner and find only a shiny sea of cars and a parking lot that signals everything that is daunting: Lines, waiting and commerce. But when you are equipped with the requisite talent and skill sets that are cultivated enough, whatever lays around that daunting corner is probably something that can be handled. And while most never endeavor out and into the world of letting their art become involved in industry and commerce – in order for the ultimate dream to be realized, it has to become enmeshed.

This is the dilemma that is facing Calistro.

After having a successful career spent in the parlors of one critical industry, Calistro is looking to segue into the next critical industry. With a body of work that is at once complex, rich with meaning as well as playful and heavily personal, Denver artist Sandi Calistro appears to be ready. Her mainstay is working as a tattoo artist and it will always be the fundamental aim for Calistro and while the industry can be difficult, she wouldn’t have it any other way. And it is all those lessons learned in the tattooing arena that have grown her into a place where she feels brave enough to take another step.

Calistro’s paintings, like her tattoos, are dense with color. Her figures, wavy and ethereal. They feel as though they may blow away at the next instance of a storm. Some are rooted in the world that we inhabit everyday, but most of her dreamy characters feel as though they do reside in that unreal place that you only visit during sleep.

And while the world of being a tattoo artist has its own pressures – the painting and art world has its own unique pressures – the only difference probably being that, in the painting and gallery world human skin is not the medium and most importantly, you get more than one shot. And when the ink is being drawn-out into one of Calistro’s client’s skin, the expectation is enormous. The expectation is that she will always do her best – anything less is unacceptable. And while, as a painter, the expectation is the same, it is an expectation that Calistro wants to stand on her shoulders alone.

As an exhibiting painter, this East Coast native is under constant barrage about meaning in her work. And while it can become tiring, and while, for the most part, meaning is in the eyes of the viewer – Calistro will admit that most of her pieces stem from her rich dream life. As well, her pieces speak to that part of everybody that is reaching back toward being a child and possessing that simple optimism that defines the youthful mind. In her process, as a tattoo artist and as a painter, this is one of Calistro’s heavy aims: To work in that space where hope lives and relinquish that world where paying bills wins and everything is tainted by the sun of necessity.

Afterall, to find the world as beautiful and simple is the goal. And through art we have that opportunity – to stand with one foot in this place of simplicity, while the other meanders in that other, unspeakable dreamlike place of the real world.

Keep up with Sandi's evolution, here: www.sandicalistro.com.