Turning Point

"The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance. The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose." -Arnold Bennett
"Turning Point" 24x36" oil over acrylic on panel Original art available

"Turning Point"
24x36" oil over acrylic on panel
Original art available

August of 2017 I was invited by the Wilshires, whom you may know from their spearheading IX Arts, to participate in a group show at Haven Gallery on Long Island, on the subject of Time. That's it. There was very little guidance beyond that. I was excited to be a part of the show, especially because time is a concept I spend a lot of time thinking about in various ways, and always have.

Over the next month or so I cast about for ideas, things I might want to express relating to the theme. I did have in mind that clocks and memento mori were probably not going to figure into whatever I did. I assumed other artists would have interesting things to say with those visuals, and so I decided to find my solution elsewhere. But it was proving a little difficult.

Time changed that.



October 9, 2017 I awoke and shambled to the kitchen to begin preparing coffee, as usual. My wife had spent the night in Santa Rosa with her mother. As I approached the kitchen I heard my phone ringing in the drawer where I kept it. I answered my wife's call and still half-asleep tried to process the rambling, disjointed and somewhat panicked and frustrated nature of what she was telling me. Fires. That they evacuated at 2AM. That she'd been trying to call me all night but couldn't head north to get me because the freeway was closed due to fires (her mother doesn't live anywhere near the freeway). That there were over a dozen different fires. Various buildings reported destroyed (in geographically distant parts of the region). I was trying to process the rapid-fire information she was relaying to me and finally managed to lift my sleepy gaze out the kitchen window for the first time.

My studio, as I left it after ransacking most of my art to leave with.

My studio, as I left it after ransacking most of my art to leave with.

When I did, the hillside outside our window had giant plumes of smoke billowing off of it. And this was a good half hour from where she had been overnight.

The Santa Rosa fires--the most destructive in CA history and the most expensive in US history--occupied my life that week as I evacuated my own home, and as I discovered through that morning and the days that followed that multiple friends had lost their homes as I slept.

Upon returning home, thankful that I had one, I began to hear their stories, including my model's here, who lost the home she was living in and a pet rabbit along with all her possessions as she fled. Over the next few weeks I began to understand that in very significant ways this fire was a definitive Turning Point in these friends' lives, and would be one for me as well, even if for different reasons, having escaped loss myself.

Thumbnail sketch, 4x2.5" pencil and acrylic

Thumbnail sketch, 4x2.5" pencil and acrylic

Ruminating on all that, I began to put together my image. 

I began to think a lot about Turning Points in general after that. About how people decide (or don't decide) to look beyond the wreckage of the past--literal or metaphorical--towards something else, something better. Away from the fallout of bad decisions, injustices, hurts or betrayals, tragedies.

The unbelievable nature of what was damaged or lost is often something we spend a lot of time oriented towards, looking at it, trying to understand and mourning continually. Sometimes Turning Points are forced upon us that sever us from a past that should have been left behind long ago. All of these topics factored into creating my painting. Can we turn away from sorrow and toward something brighter? Can the future be beautiful when all we can see is destruction?

Emphatically, I think the answer is yes.



Gameplay: A Tribute to Video Games

Notable mostly for me, today is the 12th anniversary of my blog. I always count election day as the official anniversary day, having launched on an election day here in the USA.

In the news, I have two paintings in a group show, Gameplay: A Tribute to Video Games, over at Helikon Gallery in Denver, CO, running through Dec. 10.

This makes the second gallery show which has hosted works from my Hearts for Hardware series. The first was my solo show at Krab Jab Studio a little over a year ago. In both cases, I did not pitch being in the shows, but was asked to participate, which is extremely gratifying.

My work hanging @helikongallery through Dec.10, opened last night #art #videogames #retrogames #gallery

A photo posted by Randy Gallegos (@randygallegos) on

As regards the art itself, I consider these opportunities to be a win for the series in general. One of the things I wanted to do with this series was to elevate objects which are normally kept firmly on the side of entertainment, frivolities, even toys, to the status of Art in some small way. This is one reason I haven't gone for fun, jokey gags but have treated them as straight, serious still life paintings, though admittedly the site hosting them is a bit intentionally retro. It's a reason I have not portrayed people playing the hardware (something I've been asked to consider a couple of times). So, all this tells me that I am on the right track, and this encourages me to continue on with the series.

In any case, "Motion Control, At Rest" and "Master Gear" are both hanging at Helikon in Denver. They also are stocking a few of the giclees of other images. If you are around, stop by and see the show. If not, and if you are interested in purchasing the works, drop them a line!