By: Emma Mendelson
It is a human habit to yearn for new and exciting challenges that force us to change the way we navigate our worlds. For Galen Bryce, this desire is not one to be ignored. He veered away from the graphic design path he begun at SUNY Purchase, one that didn’t pose any obstacles to him. The desire to challenge his artistic abilities, as well as being pulled towards this artist community, led him to start developing a painting style that could open new and exciting creative avenues.
It begins with Influence from artists like Van Gogh, Francis Bacon and (more contemporary) Andrew Salgado and Alex Kanevsky. They present a painting method that Galen views as “most organic”. This isn’t organic in the sense that it is the least polished and processed style of painting, but that this style is the most representational of how organic life decays. Galen is fascinated with the dichotomy of creation and destruction, how these processes are ever-lasting and exist in an ongoing cycle. The way this process of decay becomes represented through painting, in Galen’s interpretation, is through loose brush strokes, often-neutral tones, and subjects that merely resemble or take an idealistic form of existing organic material.
His subject choices are more often than not humans. He feels the best way to connect to other humans is through human imagery, “figurative” artwork as he tells me. He also unconsciously depicts “blatant sexuality” frequently. While this isn’t done on purpose, one has to assume that this is usually a theme due to its provocative nature and it being, generally, visually interesting. In reference to his interest in the dichotomy of creation and decay, he has an obsession with contradictions, how you can be repulsed by something but drawn towards it at the same time, an idea that brings to mind the ever-referenced scenario of a car crash. This could also explain his predilection to present to the public images of a sexual nature, to play on their need to reserve these feelings but the fact that these desires exist in everyone.
But his life is not filled with painting alone. His career choice enables him to express himself artistically but in a different way. Galen is also a tattoo artist. While his painting style and his tattooing style are developing simultaneously, they are not following the same stylistic path. His tattooing style is actually merging with his art school training. He wants to develop a style that resembles 17th – 19th century illustration and, as he did often with his printmaking training, wood-cut illustration.
The future of his art is unknown. The artistic path he has traveled down thus far has been done without definite direction so it is unsure where the path will head in the next few steps. However he paints tomorrow, it is known that there is no other option for Galen, art is the beginning and the end of his life and he would have it no other way. You can see his paintings and his tattoos and sketches on his facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/galen.bryce.