Inside My Art: with Chris Galo
I grew up in Bolton, CT and started making art in college at CCSU. I got pretty serious about acrylic painting about six years ago. In college I had very strict teachers in the Graphic Design program that helped contribute to the quality I put into my work today.
In 2012, I moved to Boston with my best friend. I had no money, a low paying job, and a twin size bed in a living room.
It was a perfect change of pace. I tried to get into the art community and meet people. When you are new in a big city you realize what you had and what you need. You realize who you really are and how you want to be seen. I just put a lot of that energy into art, everything from serious stuff to stupid stuff. I love stupid stuff. From there, I started meeting people I wanted to be around. You start feeding off that energy, whether it be music, dancing, drinking, painting or whatever.
Now five years later, that energy has taken me on quite a ride.
Most my work has a type of humor to it. Basically I try to create work with pop culture references mixed with fine art. My ideas come from all over. For example, I can take you through my last painting…
The subject matter was a beautiful woman, sitting on a wooden floor, nude, with her hand in a Froot Loops box , surrounded by Coors Lights.
I came up with that idea one night when I was home, surrounded by Coors Light Cans, nude, sitting Indian style, eating Froot Loops on my bed. I immediately grabbed my sketchbook and drew an extremely weird looking girl sitting Indian style eating Froot Loops. For some reason… probably the beer, I thought it would be a good idea for a painting, and it could portray this emotion and feeling I had at that time. Over the next few weeks I solidified the idea, and hired a nude model on Craigslist. Yes Craigslist, but it works. I set up a date with the model, then basically set up a mock photo studio in the common room of my apartment and snap about 80–100 photos. Then, I picked the photo that I feel would make the best painting. It needs to meet a weird criteria in my head. I can then decide what size the painting should be.
When all the supplies are set, I start sketching in pencil on canvas and then I go for it. I work on every inch of the painting until it is perfect. I am a stickler for quality. That’s how in my eyes I stand out more, I will sit there and paint a single beer can for 30 plus hours because when I post it on Instagram or Facebook I don’t want that one asshole from high school to point something wrong out about it. These paintings are months of my life and become my life, so I want them to be perfect every time.
To sum it up, I find a photo, I like, and painted it.
Where I Find Inspiration:
My paintings come naturally. I do lean towards 90’s pop culture, or nostalgic things, classic foods, anything.
I consider a lot of my work “practice pieces”. I started paintings Pop-Tarts and Eggos a few years ago because I was snowed into my apartment, I had six-inch canvas’ and junk food. It just happened organically.
Before that, I was trying to teach myself watercolors buy copying Norman Rockwell paintings, but with watercolor. That wasn’t easy at all, I don’t try to pawn it off as my own idea, but it made me a better painter in the long run. Once you break down a Norman Rockwell painting with a $7.00 watercolor kit you feel like you can paint anything. After that, I had more confidence to paint photographs I like or have taken myself.
Finding My Unique Niche:
I’ve come up with multiple niches. I go through phases, I get bored. I create whatever feels right at that time.
I started making fake 11×14 paintings in college. I would take famous paintings put E.T.’s head and finger on them, Slap it on canvas and hang them in public building on campus to see if people would notice the change.
Then I went though a street art phase. I would make stickers, stencils and what not. The coolest thing I made that came out of that was a fake electrical outlet. It had an adhesive backing, you could stick it on anything and people would ask themselves “why the hell would the carpenter put that there?”
Next came my Muralist phase. I wanted to be a muralist until I realized everyone is just printing signs now. Not much money in that. For awhile I was trying to create large scale cubism stuff. That led to my pop culture cubism phase. This all happened because basically I couldn’t paint, but I could fill in blocks of color like a pro.
Now I’m working into my Photorealism phase.
The Howard Stern Show = Art
I listen to The Howard Stern Show every single day for hours on end. I can say that every time I paint the show is on, old episode or new I don’t care, it’s all great. I watch it on youtube or listen on my Sirius XM app on my phone. My friends and roommates can all agree that I have a problem. It’s basically the only thing I talk about.
My Stern Show Experience:
Recently The Howard Stern Show featured me on their website, Howardstern.com. It was the greatest day of my life.
It started when one of the writers of the show followed my work on Instagram. Me being a super fan, I messaged him and said “Thank you for the follow, I’m a huge fan, keep up the good work, Hit em with the Hein”… expecting nothing of it. Later that day I got a message back. He said he was a fan of my work and he ended up buying a print off me. Within the exchange I mentioned I do portraits and I’d love to do some portraits of the staff and Wack Pack. He was into the idea and there was word of a possible website feature. This eventually lit a fire under my ass because it could be a dream come true. I ended up doing nine portraits in about two and a half weeks. Literally didn’t leave my room, and I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to possibly jinx it. Once I sent them photos of the portraits, word got around in the office and a few days later there was a picture of me on the website and one of my paintings was the top story on the front page. I’m still on the website now, and it is a great compliment and accomplishment for me and my art. Everyone who I emailed or messaged with couldn’t have been nicer and they sent me photos of a few staff members holding my work, which now are tattooed on my chest permanently. Not really but that’s the level of how awesome it was for me.
How The Howard Stern Show Inspires Me:
The Stern Show is just always there for me. It’s more than just a show, I feel like I know these people. Not in a crazy person way. After years of hearing the same people on air you fall in love with who they are and how they act. It’s one ongoing inside joke that is funny every time. I think the satire of the show and the humor is what you can see in my work. There are Stern lovers and haters, that’s how art is, it isn’t for everybody. There is art worth millions I would never hang in my house, but I will hang a painting of Eric the actor or Beetjuice without hesitation.
Where You Can Find Me:
Email address is [email protected]
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~Feature in collaboration with/produced by: Jeff Gorra