The first time I met Emily Galusha was when my other studio mate at Canopy, David Barrow, suggested that she would be a great person to share our space with. He was right. We hit it off immediately and she has been here ever since. I made the artist studio panorama of her during our first meeting which also consisted of relationship advice and fawning over her sweet and beautiful German shepperd Luna. She never comes into the studio in a bad mood and always participates in the Canopy Open Studio events when she can, showing her great work with a smile. I'm thrilled to have her around. She is a hard worker which always inspires me to not just sit at my computer and surf the web for hours on end.
The panorama I made of her last year will be exhibited in a group show at Davis Gallery here in Austin this September. This interview is part of a series getting to know the subjects of those images.
SDG: So when did you first realize you wanted to be an artist and what did you do to make that a reality?
EEG: I don't know if there was ever a clear realization, but more a way of life. My mother was an art teacher for most of my life and my father was very supportive of all things creative. We were constantly doing artistic projects at home, growing up surrounded by motivation and ideas. It's in our blood to be creative and inventive and busy. Dance was as much of a part of my life as art. I took tap, ballet, jazz and modern for most of my life and even studied it in college before switching to visual art. It has a great influence on my work today.
While achieving my BFA at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, I studied everything from Printmaking to Ceramics to 3D Design. I wanted to learn it all. The variety helped my graphic design work, where I ended up emphasizing my studies. Combining illustration with computer graphics was not too common at that time and I loved pushing those boundaries. I loved school. It was challenging and humbling and studying alongside a talented group of students and teachers was very fulfilling. It was then that I realized, to be a successful artist you have to work to your full potential. The creative drive is intoxicating and the ebb and flow of creativity can be addicting.
SDG: Achieving your full potential in different but related fields must take a lot of discipline. What do you want to share and talk about the most out your many skills and talents? It's hard to keep track of them all.
EEG: Thank you for saying that. At times, it is a challenge for me to focus on one avenue. Between graphic design and art, I stay busy. Graphic design is a constant in my daily life. After years of working in ad agencies and design firms, I began freelance designing in 2008. Working with clients independently on branding, as well as print and web design, has been a demanding but also rewarding experience. Currently, aside from design work, I have two creative projects going.
The first is a pistol series I began over ten years ago that has been growing and evolving. I have referred to the pistols as my version of the female nude. The light hits the curves and plays along the mechanics of them. Combining the organic with the mechanical is important. The pistol could be disintegrating into a cluster of moths, or perhaps I frame it with found antique wood. Including the human touch is a nice additive, making it more than just an object.
The second is a newer series stemming from life experience. I'm a pretty private person and have been wanting to challenge myself by exposing a more emotional side in a tasteful, expressive manner. As I mentioned, dance has played a large roll in my life and is a great outlet for creativity. I worked with my dear friend and talented photographer Lily Darragh in Little Rock to shoot a couple of dancers.
After spending quite some time narrowing down the emotions/narratives I wanted to convey, I constructed playlists to correlate with each narrative. As the dancers listened to the music, I loosely "choreographed" the shoot and encouraged them to improvise and tap into their own forms of expression. It was a pretty incredible experience watching these talented girls put my description in to action. The photos turned out better than imagined. I am now in the process of organizing the photos, sketching from them and creating mixed-media paintings.
SDG: That sounds like a really fun process. I can't wait to see some of that new work. In a way you just answered this question but what keeps you motivated, inspired?
EEG: It is important to try and push oneself spiritually, emotionally, creatively, etc. Having said that, I also try to relax and enjoy life and my surroundings. I think it is just as important to decompress as it is to stay focused. For me traveling is a great way to stay driven and inspired. A road trip through the west pretty much does the trick.
Andrew and I run a small urban farm in East Austin (HOPE Community Farm) that is a productive and dirty escape that teaches and motivates both of us. Working together on the farm and in life my husband has proven to be one of my favorite people on the planet and also one of the most resilient and loving I've met. He reminds me that, if something fails, learn from it and move forward. That is something that helps me to grow every day.
SDG: Well, I have definitely learned something and it's how not to fail at being a kick-ass artist. Thanks Emily for sharing your wisdom and experience. I look forward to seeing all of your projects flourish and I am very thankful to have such a wonderful studio mate.
Stay tuned next week to see who is next in this interview series. Thanks for following along as we get closer to the opening on Sept. 6th. See you then.