Street art has always been around me. This culture that started to be acknowledged as a form of art since the 70’s has now evolved into something remarkable. For a long time, I was just driven to it. I remember watching TV as a little kid and seeing these bands playing punk-rock on front of graffiti walls, skaters doing stunts and all the artwork they had on their boards and their guitars. Then, as I kept growing, I was driven to the ‘tags’ street artists made all over the city and wondering how they even got there. It all looked like a very adventurous and exciting world, and I always felt the urge to be a part of it.
While I went to art school and was trained formally, there was this part of me that kept being driven to this art form. I just kept being driven by that exhilarating feeling that I get when I listen to punk rock and all the imagery that surrounds it. I kept getting driven by that rush that I get when I don’t really have to think or explain anything and I am just driven to make. This rush, this love and this feeling is the story behind Gallo Guitars.
One day I felt like I wanted to build a guitar, so I built it. I had no idea how to do it, but I knew that I had the ability. I was taking a 3D modeling class and a class on electronics, so I just decided to follow my urge, combine the projects for my two classes and jump into building something that I had no idea how to build. I just knew that I wanted to build it. In the end of the day, that’s what you are in school for. Right? To experiment and to learn.
The first guitar I ever built, back in 2014, was 3D printed and it sucked! The artistic part was good enough to get me good grades on the classes, but honestly, as a guitar-maker, I was way behind the line. Then I built another one. This one looked prettier, but sucked too. I kept building. Learning and trying, but in art school, I had no luthier to teach me his ways. It was just the wood shop, my computer and myself.
Now, even though the story on every single one of my guitars is very exciting, the important part is the process that I had to undergo. This process is the same as street art in spirit. It is that idea that you are free in this world to do whatever you want and that you can do whatever you set your mind to. It is that idea of creating something that everyone will see and that will have an impact on every single person who sees it. It is that idea that everything that you love can be connected through an art form and shown to the world in a genuine way: Your way.
Nowadays, this free spirit of street art has taken many forms. If you think about it, the ‘hashtag’ and the username on social media have now become the old tags that street artists used to put in their work. Now there is no need for someone to climb to the highest place to ‘tag’ it with his or her name. Instead they can now virtually tag their work and reach millions of people. The challenge now becomes to make art worthy of everybody’s attention.
Before the Internet, it was very hard for artists to propagate their work, so they would recur to establishments, such as art galleries, to show them to the public. The problem with this is that your art had to be ‘chosen’ by the curator of the gallery to be displayed. Artist’s fates were exclusively driven by someone picking their work to be worthy of seeing. At the same time, street artists had always been looked at as people with low resources and very few education, so back in the day, there was no way you could be a street artist and live off of it.
Now, the medium has changed. The Internet is the new street where you can post your artwork without major complications and propagate it so that everybody who is interested can find it. Now, you can actually live off a genuine form of art. Now, you can live off your point of view and your artistic expression.
So, this is where it all sums up. Here is where this story meets my inspiration.
Gallo Guitars is a professional project that I have been working on for the past few years. It is a project that has evolved, as I have grown and is taking form into, what I believe, is something remarkable. Along the way I have collaborated with several artists with different backgrounds. All of whom I have met through sharing my art. These experiences have made this project more valuable for me, as it shows nothing but positive results, giving us more drive and more motivation.
I truly believe in connecting with other artists and sharing our ideas. This is what keeps Gallo Guitars growing and getting stronger. It is this idea that with my artwork I can empower other artists to express themselves and to be seen. Just so they can go do the same for others. It is the idea of spreading the light of positivity and creativity to create a better world where artistic expression is accessible to many others.
It is this idea of lighting up the world.
- Jose Gallo -