Brett Callero was born on September 11, 1969. He was raised on the northern outskirts of Chicago in the town of Niles, Illinois. The suburban surroundings were quite typical of a place developed during the first phase of urban sprawl. Amidst the rhythmic repetition of homes and strip malls rises one prominent feature that makes Niles known to all trivia savants around the world. A replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The visual experience of Callero’s home included this smaller-scale facsimile of a famous landmark. Suburban culture is often borrowed culture. This environment was a precursory guide which eventually led to the use of appropriation within Callero’s creative process.
Brett Callero is the eldest of five children. It was very important to his parents that their children participate in activities outside the house and learn some creative skills. Therefore, Brett was enrolled in drawing and painting classes at the nearby art school. At nine years old, he was the first student of his age to be enrolled in the school. He continued attending a weekly class at that school until he was sixteen. Some of his earliest and most vivid memories are of those learning the fundamentals of drawing and painting for the first time. Since that first class in 1979, he has continuously been involved in artistic endeavors.
Growing up, Callero was the product of TV shows like CHiPs, Night Flight and early MTV. He played games like Trivial Pursuit. He memorized the Billboard Hot 100. He continually soaked up the facts and figures of pop culture in a compulsive manner. He also read the almanac and studied the atlas in order to satisfy his obsessive need for geographical knowledge. Along the way, Callero immersed himself into his own visual language suggestive of the non-fiction he loved.
Brett Callero has a diversified background. He earned his MFA in Painting after working in Chicago as a
graphic designer/art director for over decade. He then spent another 11 years as a professor at the Savannah College of Art & Design in Atlanta, GA. Callero continues to make and exhibit art on a regular basis. Presently, he lives in Chattanooga, TN where he is a working artist, facilitator of creative thinking and a Part-time Assistant Professor of Art at both Kennesaw State University and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.