Culture Maker: Artist Trent Call


Trent Call is a visual artist based in Salt Lake City, Utah who has been practicing many crafts for over 20 years. His mediums are not limited to oil painting, mural and graffiti art, comics and animations.

Trent Call and I were a part of a very selective group of friends in high school. We were a small caste of non-Mormon kids in a sea of homogeneity. My sister and I both excelled at art and found our home in Pat Eddington’s art classroom. Trent, a junior when we were freshmen, was the shining star of our high school’s art program. He grew up in a stylish family; his parents were both furniture designers and their home was decorated with modern and simple furniture which defied the normal decor of the late 90’s in Salt Lake City.
From the moment he left high school he has been on a pretty quick trajectory into artist stardom. From publis murals to graphic design he covered the city weekly newspapers and his studio became a shrine for aspiring artist fangirls who flocked to see his work and ask him how he came to be.
The dumb luck he has had paired with dedication to his art studio practice and raw talent brought Trent to Chicago this fall for a gallery opening at Gallery 19. His figurative paintings were shown as well as the work of two other artists of disparate genres. I hadn’t seen him in almost ten years and another mutual friend Zak Jensen joined him from Boston. Zak is also a talented artist in his own right, displaying an MFA in Graphic Design from Yale (!) and who’s claim to fame for the purpose of this blog is as the designer of my Logo and wordmark used on my website and packaging. 

To be able to feature a friend who I’ve known since 1996 on my blog is a huge honor. Trent’s work is so prolific and spans so many mediums I often wonder when he sleeps and how his hands still function. He is a machine. Trent used to put out a zine called SWINJ and was greatly influenced by the act doing graffiti.


We decided to incorporate his pattern work into our EMC2 label wallpapers- sold exclusively on Etsy- because his style is so fresh and fun, and we are always looking for ways to promote the microeconomics of other cultural producers. Check out our interview with Trent and take a peek at his collection of designs that just launched on our Etsy.


RT: What is your work about? How does that relate to you and who you are?

TC: Not really sure what my work is about as a whole.. I have a few different styles I work with, along with multiple mediums. Oil painted figures, spray painted cartoony murals, and drawings. I guess it’s a mix of things I find interesting. Things I have soaked up over the years. I am really into the process making a painting, and the time that passes. I don’t really do much else aside from working.

See more work on Gallery 19’s Website: Trent Call Portfolio


RT: What drives/motivates you?

TC: I guess just having fun making things. Getting excited about projects. Working out ideas.

Giving myself a challenge and seeing what happens.

I recently just spent 2 full days on an animation that didn’t turn out that great. But I learned a few things from that experience. Last month I painted a mural on a floor, which I was pretty nervous about. Looking back at totally worked out, it was fun and challenging.


RT: What advice do you have for other artists/makers?

TC: Try and make stuff everyday. Experiment with different mediums, processes, applications etc. Use a sketchbook. Draw stuff, write things down. Make a mess and always have art making supplies easily accessible. If you use a computer, learn the hotkeys.. make life easier on yourself.

RT: What is something you wished you learned early on in life but only found out later?

TC: I wish I had learned how to run a business, keep track of sales, pay your taxes and all that non art stuff you need in order to work as an artist.


RT: Who is a cultural producer you wish more people knew about?

TC: I have got to say the radio producer Joe Frank. He recently past away this month at the age of 79. He has made some of the most amazing absurd, strange, funny and mildly disturbing radio stories. He pretty much started the current podcast story form that is so popular today. He has played on KCRW out of California since the late 80’s. I did not discover him till the mid 00’s. There is nothing else like it. You can buy shows and listen to a few free pieces at


RT: If you had to quit being an artist, what would you choose to do instead? (Imagine there was not limit to money or certifications or geographic restrictions)

TC: Hmmmm… I don’t know. Maybe a mail carrier or delivery person. Maybe some sort of data analysis, which I find super interesting. A carpenter


RT: How has teaching informed your practice?

TC: The only teaching experience I have had was a few workshops with High School students. It was super fun. I like the idea of teaching the correct way of doing something then mentioning as some point that you can also do it the wrong way or the other way or any way you want. Its not at all like math. (But at times can be exactly like math!) Just make it your own way.


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