So, if you have been to events or read Cycle Source Magazine, you may have come across the incredible art of Christopher Galley! I’ve gotten to know him a bit from being at many of the same shows. I’ve always been drawn to his unique style of art..Check out the interview we did with him…….
- What’s your name, where ya from and what do you do??
My name is Christopher Galley and I’m a visual artist from Buffalo, New York.
2. Gotta ask ya, how did you come up with the name Devil Chicken?
Ha! Everyone always wants to know where the name from. I guess that means it’s a catchy name… I came up with the name Devil Chicken Design while I was still in High School. I always knew that someday I was going to do something with it. It just took me almost 20 years to figure out what exactly that was. Better late than never I guess…
3. Have you always been into art and have you had any formal training?
I have. I think some of my earliest memories were of me drawing. When I was a kid we moved around a lot, and being an only child, art was a way I could make friends in a new town. Everyone always liked the kid who could draw something cool for them. I definitely focused on art throughout high school, so when it came time to take the next step, art was the logical choice. I have an associates degree in Studio Art and a bachelors and master’s degree in Art Education. As I finished my two year degree I knew I wasn’t disciplined enough to sit in a studio working for 8-12 hours a day. I needed a job that basically had hours and a workspace, that’s why I initially went into teaching. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I could have made. It really pushed my creativity and gave me the time I needed to develop my style. They are also incredibly supportive of my show and travel schedule.
4. I love your work. It’s really cool. And by the way congrats on Cycle source artist of the year! Well deserved. How did you develop your style?
The recognition from Cycle Source was truly a surprise. It sounds corny, but to have my name considered along side the names of the other nominees was an honor. I didn’t think I had a chance in winning. When I got the email telling me that I won, I was surprised to say the least.
My style is basically a mix of traditional and street art styles mixed in a crazy hodge podge. I combine marker drawing on vellum with alcohol ink, collage, acrylic paint and even used motor oil out of my bike in my work. When I decided to refocus my work I decided it was going to be a mix of everything that I was interested in. I didn’t care if anyone liked it, I was going to make it cool for me. Luckily, people have really reacted positively to it.
5. You work the man, Evel Knievel, into a lot of your pieces. Safe to say he’s one of your hero’s?
Definitely. I can clearly remember watching Evel Knievel on TV as a kid. I was baffled and amazed about this crazy guy launching himself over busses and semi trucks on a motorcycle. The fact that he seemed to crash everytime and still come back for more hooked me and still continues to fascinate me.
A few years ago I got an email from the president of Evel Knievel enterprises asking me to email him back. I immediately thought, “here comes the cease and desist letter from the lawyers”. Fortunately, his reply to my email was to tell me that he really liked my work and to thank me for keeping the spirit of Evel Knievel alive. He sent another email with close to 50 links to rare Evel Knievel photos and interviews. I’m still amazed at how positive and cool he was about my work.
6. Who are your biggest influences in your art and who is out there now that you admire?
Man, that’s a tough list to pin down! There are so many talented artists out there doing their thing. I’m a regular at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. They have a world renown collection of abstract expressionist art. I’ve always been fascinated by artists like Willem DeKooning and Robert Rauschenberg. I guess that’s where my drips and paint splatters come from…
In the motorcycle industry I’m inspired by the work of painters like Shawn Long, Scott Takes, and Darren McKeag. Their attention to detail and innovation is incredible. Photographers Mikey Revolt and Mike Vandergriff have really created a different narrative in their work. They have truly captured what it means to be in the culture today. The fact that I get to call these men friends is amazing to me.
But the biggest influence on my work has to be Jon Langford. I saw his work almost 10 years ago when I was traveling through Austin, TX. I happened into a small gallery and saw his work on the walls. The fact that he was combining imagery and text in his compositions along with skulls?!? This told me that I didn’t have to follow the rules of what I learned in art school. You could make work that was about you, they way you wanted to.
7. Let’s switch it up … tell us a bit about Voodoo and Burnt Rubber
Voodoo and Burnt Rubber is an art and motorcycle that my wife Jo and I coordinate. 2018 will be our sixth year for the show. Our goal has always been to bring together the creative people in Buffalo. We had friends that were building rad cars, other friends chopping bikes and of course friends making art. The issue was that all of these groups were separate. There were never events in Buffalo that gave them all a reason to come together. Once we kicked off VBR, all of that changed. We knew that the underlying creativity of all these groups would mix perfectly. The cool thing is that the word about the show is starting to spread. When we travel around with artwork, I’m always promoting VBR. Now people are starting to come to us to tell us that they are planning their summer vacations to fit VBR in their schedules. This year we’re looking to add more bikes and artists to the show, so if you know someone that has a rad bike or makes cool art, have them hit me up on my website or through Instagram (@voodooandburntrubber).
8. Man, you get around to a lot of events. Between that and creating art, do you have ANY time to relax???
Ha! Not really. But to be honest, I’m not very good at it. I’ve always been obsessive about work and thankfully my wife is not too dissimilar. We’re both goal oriented people. Art has given me a focus for this extra energy. I work everyday on it. I’ve made it a habit to work in my studio everyday after school and weekends are really the time to put in some hours and knock out some work. With all of the opportunities that have started to come my way, I’ve also had to balance in some time to take care of the business side of things and cool press opportunities like this.
9. What are you riding these days?
I’ve started to acquire a pretty decent collection of bikes over the years. My most recent acquisition is a 1974 Harley Davidson Shovelhead in a 1980 frame. It’s a bike that I had admired for years before I finally had an opportunity to pick it up last year. I found it outside of Louisville, Kentucky. Luckily I was on my way home from a show in Saint Louis, Missouri so it saved me a sizable road trip!
My baby however is a 1959 Harley Davidson Ironhead chopper. This bike and I have a long history. I had the bike, eventually traded it to someone in another state and then managed to get it back almost 10 years later. It’s been a lot of work, but I’ve almost got it where I want it. I’m convinced that this spring is going to be the time when I get it dialed in.
- So how can folks get in touch with you get some bad ass art work?
I try to get out to as many shows as possible so people have an opportunity to see my work in person, but that’s not always possible. The best bet is to check out my web site Devil Chicken Design. I update it regularly as I finish new paintings. If you want to see them as they come together check me out on Instagram. I’m @devilchickendesign. The app has been a great way to interact with people from around the world and have my work seen by a lot of eyes.
Thanks, Chris. We suggest everyone give him a follow on the IG and hit his web site up to pick up some really cool art!!! And big thanks to my main man, Mad Stork for some killer pix!!!