Caleb Brown, a senior psychology major and art minor from Fayetteville, Georgia, came to Mercer University to study physical therapy and to play football.
“I just decided to pursue art full time in January, and now in March I’ve already reached over half of my goals,” Brown said.
Brown has been drawing for as long as he can remember.
“I didn’t actually start painting until about a year ago,” Brown said.
He took a painting course to satisfy an art minor and ended up falling in love with it. He attributes much of his painting ability to art professor Eric O’Dell.
“[O’Dell] really fostered my God-given gifts,” Brown said. “He helped me develop into a better painter.” After making a major decision in January, Brown hasn’t stopped working since.
“I’ve launched my website. I’ve already been in a couple of galleries, and I’ve done some work for some pretty cool people,” he said.
Brown has created several paintings for the Atlanta based hip-hop group Migos.
“I just happened to send them an Instagram direct message, and Offset, one of the members, just happened to see it,” Brown said. “Ever since then, he’s pretty much made me their official artist.”
Brown has also done a painting for this year’s Super Bowl MVP Von Miller and for the NFL Comeback Player of the year Eric Berry. He also has a painting of Martin Luther King Jr. downtown at the Macon Arts Alliance.
Earlier this year, Brown did an interview for local news television station 41NBC/WMGT about using his art as a form of service. In February, he did an art performance during the intermission of Mercer’s Organization of Black Student’s annual Date Auction.
Brown’s role model is Malcolm X, not just for his political views, but also for his relentlessness in pursuing goals.
“I live by FINAO [failure is not an option], and Malcolm taught me that,” Brown said. “I’m going to give everything I got to try and achieve my goals.”
His other role models in art include professor Eric O’Dell, Michelangelo, New Orleans artist John Moody and performance artist David Garibaldi.
Brown said that he’s met a lot of people at Mercer who are pursuing career paths that assure them financial security, but they don’t really love what they’re doing.
“What I’ve found in art is something that wakes me up in the morning, something that I cry and die about,” he said. “Through my art I want to serve as an example to those who may be scared to pursue their real goals, their childhood dreams, the stuff that most people would consider unstable.”
Brown said that his art doesn’t have a specific theme, but the reason he paints definitely has meaning.
He said he wants to inspire other people to pursue their goals.
The 41NBC/WMGT interview and more of Brown’s art can be found on http://www.artbycalebbrown.com/ and on his Instagram page @finao24_.