Calvin Lai describes art as “the monkey that climbed onto his back” while he was drawing a self-portrait in kindergarten. He recalls that his passionate relationship with art began the moment when he was trying to get the loops of his shoelaces just right. This fascination with detail drove him towards realism, and he began teaching himself the basics of value and perspective at a very early age. His addiction to art progressed, and people became his favorite subjects. He eventually moved from where he grew up in Los Angeles to San Francisco where he studied drawing and printmaking at San Francisco State University. In 2008, he enrolled in the Academy of Art and began painting. Oil paints are now his primary medium.
Since then, working from his San Francisco studio, he has continued to develop and refine his painting skills. Lai’s work has been shown nationally in galleries, group exhibitions and juried shows. He has executed a large number of portrait commissions over the past several years, and his paintings have appeared in national and international publications. Though Calvin mainly focuses on figurative and portraiture, he is driven to capture all that he finds compelling through his paints, brushes, and determination.