I met Gregory when he was the guest demonstrator at the Huntington Beach Art League. His ‘torn image collage’ paintings inspired me so much that I had to share them with you all! Enjoy his interview and be sure to check out his web site at: www.gregorygallardo.com
How do you describe yourself as an artist? I am a very spiritual person. I tend to “live” the way I “paint” or create – with my heart on my sleeve. As an artist, I think it is important to accept that each work is a part of you that you are giving away.
Please describe your work. My art is a natural flow of instinct and energy, yet I intentionally apply concepts of composition and negative space in a calculated matter to help guide viewers through each piece. I am very aware of tempo and movement in my work as a means of creating continuity.
Describe the path you have taken to develop your art. When I was 8-years-old I began spending hours in the library reading about the Masters and copying their work. Michelangelo was my favorite. I was obsessed with realism. I do believe that, “You have to know the rules to break the rules”. My roots in realistic drawing opened the door for my latest exploits in abstract art, giving me the ability to better express depth. “I am an art school dropout”. As a teenager, I was mentored by artist Don White and found early success exhibiting my figurative drawings and paintings. I received a scholarship to attend art school, so naturally at 17 years old I instead chose to leave home, leave school and travel the world as a musician. My musical travels spanned the following 10 years. (Though I never stopped painting and drawing during that time). Ironically, my journey in music influenced my visual arts in ways that no formal art education could have; traveling the world – the people and the places – and music itself has become an important part of me and my art. One vital lesson I learned as a musician was that the space between the musical notes was just as important as the notes themselves. Visually this concept can be applied through the use of negative space and through color and texture to evoke a sense of motion, rhythm and tempo.
What inspires you? Many things inspire me. I am moved by the human condition. The power and the emotions conveyed through the human body, how one moves or the facial expression or the eyes. Lately though I’ve been obsessed with trees; their seasons, how they grow, their random yet precise patterns, how light passes through them and how they reflect that light. I have found that, people and trees “express” themselves in oddly similar ways. I also draw inspiration from a lot of reading. And music is vitally important. I ALWAYS have music on at full volume in my studio – it could be jazz, blues, or heavy metal. The music I choose changes my approach to a piece.
What do you want to communicate with your art? When someone views my work I hope they feel “Peace” mostly. I don’t necessarily have a “message”, but for the brief moment that a person views my work I hope that they can share in the tranquility within me and that this same feeling is transferred to others through their actions. My greatest wish in life is to make a positive impact. That being said, I have had works inspired by a more aggressive emotion, but I hope it is still charged with a positive energy.
Do you teach? I love to talk. I do believe my true calling is to teach… but I am not sure what that really means. I am an unusual mix of spiritual and technical, so teaching may not be the right word. I love to talk about art with people of all ages. I’ve mentored young kids and adults alike. I hope to continue this.
Please talk about your associations with art groups, galleries and your experience exhibiting your work. I have no affiliations – I’m a bit of a rogue. I do work closely with the dance department at UCI. I love working with choreographers to develop figurative ideas. Galleries are tough. I create what I like – if galleries like it, great! If they don’t, I don’t mind. I have exhibited mostly in the Western United States, but I have many pieces in private collections all over the country, thanks to the internet. I have 2 pieces in the National Aids Museum – I’m very proud of that. I also give 40% of all direct sales of my art to charity. When I am dead and gone from this earth I hope people can say my art made a difference in someone’s life.
Please talk about your artistic journey and a specific topic that is near and dear to your heart. “The point of the journey is not to arrive”. This quote is a constant for me. The destination is not the goal in life; it is what we do along the way that really matters. The best way I know how to be a positive influence and create change is through my art. Art is how I communicate. We all have some way of “speaking” with our true selves; it can be through music, teaching, writing, cooking or being a plumber, a carpenter or doing something as simple as riding a bike. We can make a difference through our positive actions. Above all “Be kind whenever possible…. It is always possible”. For more of Gregory’s art please visit: www.gregorygallardo.com