One of the best parts of my job as an art school instructor is getting to work with graduate students. The majority of courses I teach are undergraduate courses from drawing and painting, to animation, illustration, concept art, fashion and foundations. But about a third of my job is working with graduate level students enrolled in our animation graduate program at the Art Institute of California-San Francisco. This unique group of more advanced students provides a closer working relationship allowing for more sophisticated and detailed dialogue built around the creation of their masters thesis films. I have really grown to appreciate this kind of instruction, discussion and creative inter-play I get with these students. Sometimes we are in a drawing lab carefully drawing and painting a live model and other times we are sitting in front of computer pouring over Maya and carefully discussing a bit of animation, storytelling, modeling or lighting and texture. The conversations are fantastic and illuminating and many times it is I who learns equally from the student experience. Over the years I have made some great working friendships with these brilliant artists and have stood in their "light" feeling fortunate that I was able to maybe contribute in some small way to the beauty of their thesis projects. I am truly grateful and humbled as a teacher and as an artist by the dedication and talents of these individuals.
ABOVE: (back row left to right) Cortney Bell, Chris Platz, Trey Gallaher(Me), Kevin Miller, Neil Miller, (front row) Albert Carmona
This new painting titled "The Beginning" is completed in oil on 36x24 inch 12oz. cotton stretched canvas.
Like many of my paintings, I start with an idea, feeling or drawing and it often times evolves into something else as I go. Discoveries are made and it's not always clear from the beginning what the finished concept will look like. Sometimes the initial drawing is only the beginning of a much bigger idea.
Sharp changes and additions are welcomed at any time if it makes a more complete expression or beautiful design. Everything is fluid and in a state of fluctuation. Sometimes the completed design or idea comes quickly and other times slowly. I have been known to let a painting rest for a while until I know where I want to go with it.
This work is a very personal one for me and ties together many periods of my life, how I felt at the time and the people that were in it. I was clear about the initial feeling I wanted the painting to have but it grew in scope and scale as it evolved.
Fear can be a powerful motivator or paralyzer. Life is full of endings and new beginnings, changes and choices that can be made.
Perception may be the key.
This years Christmas Card was inspired by two major events in my life this holiday season. The first, my wife and I being pregnant during the holidays and due any day (the ultimate gift)! The second, is the literary work of the great Charles Dickens. Mr. Dickens has always been a part of the Gallaher household at Christmas time and my wife and I continue to make our annual visit to San Francisco's own The Great Dickens Christmas Fair. This unique one-of-kind live performance is held exclusively in San Francisco's own Cow Palace and hosted by Red Barn Productions (the same folks who bring us the Renaissance Fair in Novato, CA). Filled with over 200 actors and stage hands, this talented group of actors, costume artists and set designers recreate the streets Charles Dickens's 18th century victorian England filled with a cast of roaming characters as portrayed in Dickens's novels from Oliver Twist to A Christmas Carol. We love this event and after making two separate visits with family this year, I set to work on this drawing.
The drawing was completed at 8.5x11 inches on toned paper using markers, ink and colored pencil. My close family and friends may find one of these in their mailbox days before Christmas, but posted here this greeting goes out to you and yours... Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year!
I recently finished-up this new painting. As part of the new series I am working on this piece titled "Sublimation" explores themes of empowerment, forgiveness and rebirth. Painted in oil on canvas measuring 36 x 48 inches the imagery depicts symbols of purity and promise leaving behind ghosts of a former self.
I can't begin to describe the ecstatic feelings that came over us the day my wife and I found out we were pregnant. Pure joy, exhilaration, surprise and a flood of emotions I have never quite felt before or since in my life. If you are lucky enough in your life-time to be told those words... "Congratulations, you are pregnant" and you are ready to hear them, there is no greater feeling. It's like winning the lottery! This welcomed news for us would begin a transformation in our lives forever changing what we were, thought we were, or were ever going to be.
Talk about the ultimate art project! Everything in our lives would begin to be taken over by this news no matter how small. You begin to see life in a new way through a new set of eyes. You can't slow it down or speed it up, you just have to hang on for dear life and watch as the woman's body begins to do what it is programmed to do.
The first weeks are slow, and you feel tired, tired, tired... Your body starts to change in little ways, not significantly, just in little ways that you can't quite put your finger on. Eventually the news begins to spread to your friends and family and now you are eating voraciously with cravings that would shock a caveman.
Watching my wife eagerly wanting and waiting for changes to happen, to show the life that was growing in her, would soon give way to
feelings of anxiety that her body is taking over and not caring how she
feels or that she has a meeting first thing in the morning at work.
Life can't just stop because you threw-up before your day even began,
feel un-rested, can't eat and have an annoying allergy that seems
to be getting worse than ever. Welcome to pregnancy!
Her belly begins to grow at an alarming rate about twenty-four weeks and it's like an out-of control steam locomotive barreling down the tracks headed straight for you both... hold on!!!! And right about that time you suddenly think this can't get more shocking and amazing watching all this happen before your very eyes, suddenly you feel a little sharp jab, bump or a poke... "WHOA, did you just feel that? OMG!"
I just wanted to give a BIG SHOUT OUT to my Concept Art class of the Summer of 2013! I have always loved teaching this course and am so proud of the hard work my students give me. This course develops visual ideas and artwork for animations, game art, comics and story-driven entertainment. From initial sketches and scripts these students develop the look and feel for various commercially viable projects. Students learn to sharpen their drawing and illustration skills and how to communicate and visually develop ideas. This summer over a speedy eleven weeks, this group gave it their very best and produced some amazing concepts and artwork! I will miss our fun and power-packed Wednesday nights together watching you guys fill the walls with ideas and drawings. Keep up the great work everyone, I believe in your talents!