by Alice Ghinolfi
Hi Galo! Let’s start right off with laying out the most important details…Where. When, and why did you start doing Street Art?
Hi Alice! A friend of mine invited me to show my first Galo canvases in Amsterdam back in 1997. It was not an art gallery but rather a smart shop with a large wall where I could exhibit my works as I pleased. The prices of the works were excellent and tourists and locals alike started buying them keenly. Although I was staying in Amsterdam only for a month, I started exhibiting my works also in other venues of the city, selling and producing new pieces in an art squat that I had been assigned by a local collector. All of this led me to officially move to Amsterdam for 9 years…At that time I met people like The London Police (who, back then were in town as photographers, to do photography shows…hahaha) and we started painting not just paintings but also and namely on the street. Then we started to meet other artists who were doing the same thing in London, Barcelona, Paris and so on and we became a sort of an international artist “family”. Art critics started to notice us and talk about Street Art, following our moves through Europe. In those years there was practically no internet and in order to be known you had to physically travel and leave your mark as much as possible…everywhere…
When did you open your gallery and how do you combine your work as a curator and as artist?
I opened the Galo Art Gallery in March 2010 with a personal show, displaying over 50 artworks of mine. It’s very complicated and intriguing for me to be an artist but at the same time also a gallerist, because the more spontaneous and anarchist side of me as an artist must still give space to a more institutional job as a gallerist, which is linked to such things as the market, rules, planning…And you need to make the right choices based on criteria and possibilities coming from the real world, one made of rent, taxes, deadlines, collectors, etc… My wife Sacha is fundamental to our gallery. She’s extremely passionate about the contemporary art world, and I can easily say she’s not just my muse but also the heart and the brain of the gallery. Thanks to her tireless help, I can continue painting and officially participate in large events at least 3/4 times a year.
What is the work you’re most proud of and why?
For over twenty years, I have been doing what I do without compromising too much with the market or the art system…I use a 100%-freestyle technique and I never decide in advance how I’m going to draw my characters, be it on canvas, paper, wall or any other support. For me the work is finished when I’m satisfied with the result I have before my eyes – this allows me to be equally proud of the 99% of all my works/contributions.
What is the most satisfying exhibition you organized and why
It’s a tough call, because over the past 8 years we have organized more than 50 exhibitions with the collaboration of more than 150 artists. The fact that we are still open and active in this field in spite of the market being in a difficult situation: this is our greatest satisfaction. I clearly remember Ozmo & Jeremy Fish, Ben Frost & Galo, Shepard Fairey, Logan Hicks, Pixel Pancho, The London Police, Pez & Kenor, Cope2, just to name a few but also the Mosh Pit Show, which saw the participation of 63 artists and 126 artworks!!!
Tell us about your city: how is it to live in Turin? What’s special about it and what’s missing?
I love Turin, for better and for worse…It’s a very calm and quiet city but it can definitely be crazy and wild! What’s special about Turin is that usually there will be 1,000 events or interesting happenings in the arc a few days and then nothing officially happens for weeks and weeks…
If you could travel through space and time, in what era would you like to live and where? What would you do?
Definitely in the West Coast, in San Francisco’s Upper Haight, drinking Southern Comfort with Janis Joplin or puffing on a spliff with Jimi Hendrix in the late 60s or goofing around in East Village in NYC in Andy Warhol’s studio…
What’s your relationship with social networks? How much do they influence your work and how much do they matter for you?
I basically only use them for work and I recognize their importance nowadays.
Plans for the future? Tell us about a work project and a personal one.
I should go to Beijing in October for a big project. On a personal level, I continue to have fun doing what I do.
Tell us a question that no one has ever asked you yet that you’d like to answer.
What do I think about the color selection in the latest works by 108 …hahaha
What would you suggest a young person who wants to do Street Art today?
To be humble and serious, passionate and determined…rock and roll…