Despite living in rural Vermont, CoCo Artist Galen C.’s paintings reflect the energy of the urban environment. As we interviewed Galen about her abstract paintings, she described just exactly what goes into creating unabashedly strong works worthy of making a statement in any setting.
CoCo: How would you describe your artwork?
Galen: I would describe my work as process-driven abstraction. My work moves forward through the investigation of materials and processes. It is physical, visceral, and visually compelling.
CoCo: What inspired you to become an artist?
Galen: I’m pretty sure I was just born that way. However, I did get the message from my mother at a very young age that being an artist was not only valid, but also important.
CoCo: Who is your art for? What type of person are you speaking to?
Galen: People who appreciate my work are those who embrace the imaginative qualities of abstract painting. They like the experience and pleasure of seeing something original and of bringing their own interpretation to the work.
CoCo: What does your work of art bring to its environment?
Galen: I only allow my best work to leave my studio. I do this, in part, because I want my paintings to have integrity and enduring appeal; I want them to stand the test of time and continue to unfold and reveal themselves to the viewer over the years. If I’ve done my job, my paintings will enrich and transform any environment in which they are placed.
CoCo: What is the most important part of the artistic/creative process for you?
Galen: The most important part of my artistic process is that I be present and open to what is happening in the moment. While I bring many years of painting experience with me into the studio, every painting is unique and has its own story to tell. It is crucial that I am quiet and vulnerable enough to be able to listen and allow that new painting to push forward.
CoCo: What type of media do you use and why?
Galen: I am currently working with three distinct media. I continue and will always work with basic oil on canvas or panel, as it is a rich and versatile material. I am also working on ink on paper constructions, which I began during a recent art residency in China. The third area of interest for me, which is also inspired by the work I began in China, is collaged paintings. These works involve cutting and ripping existing paintings and reassembling them into new works of art. It is a dynamic and endlessly interesting process.
CoCo: Tell us about an interesting piece that you have displayed in your own home? Where exactly is it, and why is it there?
Galen: I have one spot in my living room that serves as a viewing spot for paintings that I have recently finished. Hanging new work and living with it for a while allows me to know whether or not it is really finished. Sometimes it takes looking at a painting for a while to know for sure.
CoCo: What is your favorite thing about doing a commission?
Galen: It is a great thing to create a work of art in collaboration with people who have are fans of my work and who have a vision and passion to work together. It is extremely rewarding to place a painting with people who love it and who were instrumental in its creation.