Meet the Artist in Residence: John Galan

John Galan is an artist in residence at Main Street Arts! He’s working in one of our two studio spaces during the months of September–October 2016 (you can stop by the gallery to see his studio and works in progress). We asked John a few questions about his artwork, life, and more:

Artist in residence John Galan

Artist in residence John Galan

Q: To start this off, tell us about your background.

A: Since I was a child I knew I wanted to become a professional artist. Twenty-six years later and I’m making that dream a reality. I graduated from California Lutheran University with a Bachelor’s in Art. Currently, I work as an instructor at a paint and sip studio called Pinot’s Palette. I also work from my art studio at home in Ventura County, California. As an emerging artist, my work has been featured in local galleries including the Museum of Ventura County. I recently embarked on a month long trip to Portugal (June 2016) painting the countryside while experimenting and developing my work.

Q: How would you describe your work?

A: The art I create is a personal reflection of my life. I like to depict symbolic stories of past memories in order to trigger the viewers subconscious. Most work focuses on the human figure in the landscape. I believe that there is an inextricable connection between humankind and nature which transcends cognitive thought to a level of what some might call spirituality. I paint alla prima using vibrant high chroma hues to add a contemporary element to a traditional form of realism. Other work involves a strong influence in pattern and design in order to capture the viewers interest.

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?

A: The process of creating a work of art is equally as important to the final product. New ideas, can come from everyday life. Constant inspirations include: nature, family, portraits, and music. I like to depict moments I find spiritually fulfilling. One of the largest influences is music. Whenever I’m painting in the studio I listen to specific songs in order to evoke a specific mood which I can then translate to the bare canvas. I use the traditional medium of oil paint to create contemporary surrealistic paintings.

Q: What are your goals for this residency? Tell us about your current projects.

A: The paintings I intend to produce at Main Street Arts Residency reflect many underlying themes and motifs influenced by geographical location, seasons, and culture. I intend to continue a series of portraits I started in Portugal of this year. The paintings are based off of immediate family and how seasons can describe an individuals personality.

I am most exited about painting outdoors because this will be the first time I get to experience Autumn. I intend to explore the surrounding community of Clifton Springs

A plein air painting of John's residency housing in Clifton Springs, NY

A plein air painting of John’s residency housing in Clifton Springs, NY

John plein air painting at the Foster Cottage Museum

John plein air painting at the Foster Cottage Museum in Clifton Springs, NY

Q: What’s next for you?

A: There is so much I want to do. A priority involves creating an art show back at home showcasing all the new work from this year. I would also like to continue traveling to other artists residencies as well as go back to school for my masters in painting.

Q: Where can we find you?

A: Website: | Instagram: @johngalanart | Email:

Are you an artist looking for new opportunities? Apply for a residency at Main Street Arts! Artists in residence will have 24-hour access to a large studio on our second floor (with great natural light), the option to show work in the gallery, and the opportunity to teach paid workshops. Submissions are reviewed and awarded on an ongoing basis.

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