Former Mercer player Caleb Brown opens an art exhibition in Macon

Former Mercer player Caleb Brown opens an art exhibition in Macon | Pro Club Bd

Macon artist and former Mercer soccer player Caleb Brown opens a new exhibit downtown Friday at the Macon Arts Alliance called “Enigma.”

Brown’s new exhibition, which features various portraits of iconic figures in a greyscale color scheme, opens Friday at the Macon Arts Alliance Gallery with an opening reception from 4pm to 7pm. The show runs through August 26 and is open during gallery hours .

Brown said the name “Enigma” reflected both the subjects in his paintings and himself.

“I realized that many of the subjects that I have painted up to this moment, people’s opinions about them can differ, they don’t agree. There are different ways you can look at these people,” Brown said of the development of the exhibition theme. “Because at some points the themes are so different that it gives you the idea that maybe Caleb is a mystery too.”

Characters in the paintings include John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, The Joker, and Nick Saban, among others. There are 12 paintings, each depicting a different and often divisive subject depicting a piece of Brown.

From politicians to comic book characters, Brown said the subjects reflect both his personality and the complex, polarized world in which he lives.

“Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised by the themes … I like all those things, but it’s like, ‘Do you like politics or comics?’ But I’m into all those things,” he said. “And the shades of grey… I think we got a little lost on that over time. Some went really wrong, and now everyone is cornered.”

Football and painting 101

Brown’s journey to becoming an artist reflects these myriad personalities and his worldview. The Fayetteville native’s passion for football brought him to Macon and Mercer, where he scored eight touchdowns for the Bears in 2013 to help the team set an NCAA record for wins through a first-year program.

Brown pursued a career in physical therapy, but things didn’t go the way he wanted.

“I went to my sessions at the physical therapy clinic for voluntary hours, and I remember being very unfulfilled before,” Brown said.

That’s when an art class turned his career upside down. The class was Painting 101, and he took him out of his comfort zone and into a new space even as he continued to work towards his physical therapy goal.

“At the same time, I was learning to paint and painting until 4 a.m.,” Brown said. “So I was like, ‘Okay, this is the energy that life should have.'”

Brown credits his painting professor Eric O’ Dell and his pastor Dominic Johnson with giving him the final push towards art. When the big commissions rolled in, he was all in.

“I’ve had orders from Jimmy Carter, a lot of NFL players, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, a lot of people. My first was in 2016 when I painted for Migos,” Brown said. “It was all really cool.”

activism and art

Brown has also become an activist in Macon, giving TedTalks in the area and attending Macon’s Black Lives Matter March in the summer of 2020. This side of him also shows up in his artwork.

“That goes on this show because I’m talking about Enigma and this idea that life isn’t that finite or that simple,” Brown said. “This idea of ​​just accepting that life can be a little mysterious, that good people can be bad and bad people can be good, is very important to the way I live my life now.”

Most importantly, Brown said the exhibition should teach viewers that it’s okay if the pieces of the puzzle don’t always fit together.

“I think the idea of ​​Enigma was just another journey of acceptance for me. I’ve learned that the path to peace is to stop trying to stop the waves,” Brown said. “I hope that the people who see this work and get a chance to see the story can also understand that living with this perspective is a life well-lived.”

After a tumultuous path to an artist’s career, “Enigma” is Brown’s first solo show. The pictures can be purchased for the duration of the exhibition.

Micah Johnston is a general duties reporter for the Macon Telegraph. A Macon native and Mercer University graduate, he joined The Telegraph in 2022. When he’s not writing about anything under the sun, he’s obsessing over baseball, reading, or playing the drums.

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