Tuesday, July 31, 2007


August 1st is Jerry Garcia's birthday. I celebrate it every year by writing it in my calendar and to reflect back on all the great music he left behind. He is sorely missed by all the loving fans that new him, his music and the love he and the rest of the Grateful Dead gave to their fans through their music. I think there is a lot of mystery about what the Grateful Dead were really all about, and most people get it wrong. It is my opinion, they were best as a performing band and have many wonderful unforgettable archived recordings out there to listen to. Find one you like and before long you will hear Jerry's old familiar guitar licks and voice come haunting you from the past like it was just yesterday at the Filmore. You will miss a true legend in American culture and San Francisco history if you don't learn about the music of Mr. Garcia. Few people even know of his bluegrass work outside of the Dead which to me is some of his best guitar picking and vocal work ever. Unfortunately we only heard the beginnings of his range. Jerry has been with me for years in my studio and will continue to be a big inspiration, serenading me as I paint.

I did this piece back in my undergraduate studies at San Jose State University in my very first illustration class. I was learning to use pastels, and after pulling an all-nighter to finish it for class, my next door (dorm room) neighbor Steve-O stumbled in all sleepy eyed, scratching himself, still waking up and says... "hey man nice picture of Kenny Rogers...". We still laugh about it to this day.

Image: ©Copyright 1994 Trey Gallaher

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I was recently asked by a great graphic designer and friend of mine who started a blog about artists studios, if I would make a contribution and entry. After a discussion about all of the creative people we know and have worked with over the years, their methods for working and unique styles, I agreed to it and started actually looking at my studio from a fresh vantage point. What makes my work space unique or any different than the next joe-shmoe artist these days? Usually, as artists, we are all compulsive neurotic types of some sort, how different could I be? In looking at my studio and all the inspirational material I keep laying around, it got me thinking about my biggest creative influences and inspirations as they have cleverly sculpted my outlook on the life, my creative mind and therefore my pictures.

I started with my bookshelf and soon I had a huge list. It could range from Kerouac to Klimt! So then I realized it wasn't gonna be that simple. I was gonna have to really narrow it down to those few individuals who's work has sculpted the framework of my creative mind and spirit, really stuck with me, next to my drawing table through thick and thin, faithfully, always providing inspiration and companionship. So after painfully hashing it out (and there are so many missing), here are my

Top 20 Artistic Influences (almost chronologically):

1. pirates - scared the piss out of me ever since the Caribbean ride at age three, and demonstrated for me the power the imagination can have over you that no book, painting or movie ever will, imagery that won't let you sleep at night.

2. Choose Your Own Adventure - These books were an essential ingredient during early grade school literary visions and imagination. They had great first-person written stories with cookey mysterious drawings in them depicting secret agents and time travel.

3. Norman Rockwell - His illustrations were the artwork that hung in our house.

4. Artemisia Gentileschi - Taught me that I could really say something with my work. Her work deeply affected me at a crucial point in my early artistic development. Check out Judith Beheading Holofernes, powerful and exalting.

5. The Doors - I got lost in their music in my adolescent life, and it took me someplace very personal in those days. I learned a little about vision, pain and the importance of exercising your demons on the canvas.

6. Jack Kerouac - Probably the single largest spiritual influence on my life next to Jesus! He once described the Beat Generation movement as "sympathetic". Think about that for a minute! Also his list of Essentials for Belief & Technique for Modern Prose writing.

7. John Coltrane - What else is there to say! You have to experience it! It makes my heart ache... He was a gentle spirit, possessed with a vision.

8. the Chinese people - Have touched me deeply and taught me the meaning of compassion.

9. men with beards - My dad and Santa Claus both had beards, I think it started there somewhere... The greatest beard of them all though was Walt Whitman! A mad man with a great mysterious beard!

10. Gustav Klimt - Design has EVERYTHING to do with it! Long live the Austrian Secession!

11. John Singer Sargent - Will always make me want to paint! One of the Gods!

12. Barron Storey - What the fuck? We will never reach him! But I will never grow tired of studying his pictures.

13. Robert Weaver - You can't teach that! Perhaps the best, and most honest draftsman ever...

14. N.C. Wyeth - Sculpted the imaginations of multiple generations. A genius at story telling and picture making. Also gets the best "departure" story! You couldn't write a more surreal and sad ending to a great man and father figure.

15. Ben Shahn - Art can have a literal message, be important, and be recognized in it's own time, serve as fine art and illustration simultaneously, and be seen in galleries and the cover of Time magazine in the same week.

16. Andrew Wyeth - Another one of the Gods! Might just drive you insane if you stare hard enough, long enough! Continues to give me faith in watercolors and works on paper. Could it ever happen twice in one family?

17. Edgar Degas - Can you say "touch"? He had the touch. He actually found a way to get line into a value painting. It has really taken me a long time to begin to understand how he may have done it. Degas definitely sits on the elders council adjacent to Sargent as commander-in-chief. His pastels make me all wabbly in the knees, gooey inside, and jealous as hell!

18. Japanese Woodblock Prints - So thats where graphic design really got it's start... I will forever be blissfully mesmerized looking at these... over and over again!

19. Bob Dylan - What an amazing body of work, part poet, part singer-songwriter that influenced everybody from the Beatles to a punk band somewhere in Japan and all the people in the world between them. I can't give entire credit to Bob Dylan without mentioning Woody Guthery, Ramblin' Jack Elliott (two of my dear favorites) who were instrumental in Bob's early years and sent him on his way. Death to country music... long live cowboy songs, the west, and the folk revival.

20. Winslow Homer - Perhaps the most instrumental and first artist to give Americans a fighting chance in the art history books. A true, true, renaissance man. I find something deeper and deeper every time I look at his work. He was an illustrator before he was a painter. He is one of the Gods for sure, but will most likely be least recognized.

* Honorable Mentions: Albrecht Durer and Vincent Van Gogh - Durer for his craft! Flat out, craft! I don't think there has ever been another like him since! As for Van Gogh I was never a huge fan as a younger artist. To me he seemed a cliche, but as I get older, perhaps more dumb-founded and simple-minded in the density of my knowledge and experience, and the more I stare at those sunflowers, I see that he may have just encompassed it all. But most importantly, he lived it!

Well thats the list for now. I am probably forgetting someone or something essential, in which case I will be back to substitute out for one of these names. But until then, as I look back strictly on my direct artistic influences, EXCLUDING TEACHERS, FAMILY, countless other important artists, and so many other innumerable people that have influenced me in other aspects of my life (many of which have rolled into my work), I give you my Top 20 artistic influences.

If you are interested in pictures of my studio space and others like it click --> HERE

or go to: studiodwelling.blogspot.com

Image: ©Copyright 2007 Trey Gallaher

Friday, July 6, 2007


Summer is here! Time to hit the coast! I recently took a road trip as I usually end
up doing once a year about this time and this year it was to the beautiful central coast of California for some wine tasting. For those of you who know me, it's no secret I'm into wine. This blog is dedicated to my artwork both drawings and paintings but every once in a while I like to throw in a little something that conveys my other passions and interests. I have been into wine since college, but didn't really get serious until about six months ago. I've always had some red or another sitting around my kitchen to go with an evening of dinning in or having friends over, but towards the beginning of the year I started reading more about wines and became fascinated with it's complexities and the efforts that go into merging man's science and nature's elements together.

I gravitate towards the reds for full flavor and body and have discovered I really like Pinot Noir and Grenache, and of course Cabs, Syrahs and Cuvee too. Not a huge fan of Zin though, which is too bad cause it is thought to be California's best wine. The Santa Ynez Valley is dominated by Syrah and Pinot in the reds department with a lot of Chardonnay as well. Here are some of the beauties I brought home. In a few short days I had sampled over 85 wines. My database is filling up quickly.

I approached the Santa Ynez Valley from the southern Santa Barbara side up Hwy101 and was immediately refreshed as I entered this lush agricultural haven. Before you crest the valley's edge you pass by Gaviotti State Beach. Not the greatest beach ever, but a point of interest for us Sideway's fans. Remember this? It has this tremendous train trestle that was a shipping port early in California history.

The crawling vines are everywhere and that was just fine with me. They were healthy and prosperous. I felt a warm blanket over me as I rolled on past the endless green fields. It was beautiful, simply beautiful.

The flowers were amazing, roses everywhere, almost at the end of every row of grapes. Then I found out why. Roses are an indicator of insects. They attack the roses BEFORE the vines and are an signal of when to spray. There were so many kinds and they were all in full bloom.

I thought of George Harrison as I hummed... Two of Us "... on our way back home".

Los Olivos Cafe... look at these sleeping beauties! Great food and perhaps the largest wine list you'll ever find.

Everything was in bloom. If you go I recommend the spring. The berries are young, but the colors and air are vibrant!

How is this for bellying-up-to-the-bar! DAMN! Don't mind if I do... (Sideways Note: this was Frass Canyon, but is actually a very famous winery called Fess Parker.. named after the actor that played Daniel Boone in the Disney Movie.)

A classic "must see"! The mother of wineries in the valley, was perhaps the largest and most beautiful. FIRESTONE! A lot of reds here too..... oh yeah!!!

Look at this old timer! I was touched.

Now a famous eatery. I met the local personality Willie (or Gary the bartender in the movie) while having the most beautiful steak of my life at the Hitching Post. He was sharing a wine next to me at the bar that night as he has long since left his station behind the counter. He filled me in on the movie madness that has invaded the valley.

Stopping off to visit some old friends!

Where to next? Towards the tail end of my trip I swung through the Edna Valley and tried some delicious wines at some great wineries there too. Kynsi was my favorite. What Pinot! It got warmer but it was worth it! Mmmmmm!!! The whole region uses signs like this, and as long as you are not in a hurry... it's simply a matter of decisions, decisions...

Home to S.L.O. and Morro Bay ... to eat a delicious meal with friends and to share all this great wine! What a great evening. This salad was made by my sweet friend Erin, she used fresh oraganic strawberries, pecans, fresh organic figs and goat cheese..... WOW! Simply amazing! My buddy Brandon manned the BBQ to cook the pork and fresh organic vegetables. And did I mention we had wine with that too? Lets eat!

There are a lot of magnificent places in this world, but there is no place I would rather live than right here, California! THE LEFT COAST BABY, the BEST COAST BABY! All things considered there is no other place on earth like it. With all that it has to offer. Something in the light, the dry air, ocean breezes and fresh food... it's sacred. So lets take care of it people, and give back by cleaning it up and defending it! If you ever get a chance to visit the central coast of California there is buried treasure there and it calls to you. Go ahead, be safe, and get a little sideways.