Can you briefly introduce yourself.
My name is Christopher Galley. I’m a visual artist from Buffalo, NY. I’ve been exhibiting as Devil Chicken Design for the last 6 years. By day, I’m a high school art teacher in a suburb just outside of the city of Buffalo. I’ve been teaching for 22 years. Luckily, the administration and families I work with see the value in my exhibition schedule!
What first got you into art?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid my family moved around a lot. I changed schools every year until I reached high school. Art was a way for me to occupy myself when we reached a new town. It was also the doorway for me to meet new kids. If you could draw something cool or make a really cool cover for your book report, kids were more likely to want to talk to you. It was always about communicating and opening doors.
How would you describe your style?
My style is a hodge podge of techniques and styles. I decided I was going to incorporate all of the materials and medias that I was either good at or wanted to learn. My work typically starts with a digital sketch or design of what I want to put together. Once I’ve worked out my composition and major values I start drawing. Most people initially assume that the imagery in my work is a printout, but when you get up close you can see the marker strokes and all the mistakes that you don’t get in the digital sketch. Once the drawing is complete I start working on the background. I collect old books, magazines, newspapers and any other print material I can find at estate sales or antique shops. The combinations of imagery and print are what form the narrative of my work. As you piece together the disparate imagery, color and graphic image it becomes a cohesive idea.
What inspires you?
When I decided to start putting my work out to the public I made the decision that I was going to create work about what I was interested in, in the styles and techniques that I loved. I didn’t care what anyone else thought about it. I was making it for me. The work was going to be about the things that I felt passionate about. Motorcycles have always fascinated me. I’m inspired by their mystique and history. My travels around the United States and Europe have taught me that they are truly a universal language. My favorite part of showing my work has become the people I meet and the stories they share. I always come home from shows with a renewed sense of purpose and motivation to keep working.
What materials did you use?
My graphic images are drawn with Prismacolor brush tip markers on vellum. I typically get them to pop with a layer of alcohol ink drips. The base layer ranges from a mix of collage and acrylic paint to used motor oil. All of this is held together with home made wheat paste. They are all basic materials pushed to complex combinations.
What is the connection to the motorcycle community?
When I started getting my work out into the public, it started with a few gallery group shows and my first gallery solo show. They were well received and attended, but when I decided to take my work on the road the motorcycle community was incredibly welcoming. As the years have progressed I’ve definitely shifted my focus from the gallery community to the motorcycle community. It wasn’t necessarily a conscious business decision, but rather a decision based on my comfort level. I’ve always found the motorcycle community to be incredibly authentic and appreciative. My impression of the gallery community has been that it is not very inclusive. Rather than focus on breaking through that wall I decided that I was going to go my own way. I definitely look at it as a “punk rock” approach to art. I load my work into the back of a truck and drive it from city to city. As my circle of opportunity has expended I’ve had to start to ship my work and catch a plane to get to some shows. For me, it’s incredible, that people in other states or even countries can connect to my work enough to invite me to show in their cities. I don’t think this would be possible without my connection to the motorcycle community.
What do you ride?
I do. I’ve ridden motorcycles for over 20 years. This means that 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.
Have you ever been to Montreal?
I’ve never been to Montreal. My wife and I have talked about going to Montreal, but for some reason it has eluded us. I’ve heard so many positive compliments about the city and its culture that I’m definitely excited to see it as a part of the Roll the Bones show.
* The exhibited works will be on sale on site.