Our November feature is on local artist Kim Gallogly. Her unique aesthetic of black and white paintings is quickly making her one of Austin’s favorite painters. Her latest work can be seen at 24th and Guadalupe and 22 feet high.
When I came to interview Kim, she was meditatively painting on manual scaffold inside the Noodles and Company, the newest restaurant to the Drag. This is a special project for Kim as it is her first mural. The wall is 22’ x 8’ which to me seems daunting. Not to her though. She is relaxed and seems to genuinely enjoy her craft, filling in the lines over a giant pencil drawing on the wall. Even beyond that, I’ve got to hand her extra points for style. She’s dressed in a cute printed blouse and jeans, looking effortlessly cute. Even though she is on a mission to complete her mural and five canvas paintings for the restaurant, she sat down for a short interview with Austin Fusion Magazine.
AFM: As an artist, you have a recognizable point of view. How did you get started & how haves your aesthetics evolved?
Kim: I have always loved art, but I really found myself as an artist in college. I started painting in college (at St. Mary’s in San Antonio). The art department created classes for me after I cycled through drawing, painting, sculpture – you name it. My mother did something similar for me when I was younger. In one of my college classes, my teacher said ‘Do whatever you want’ and everyone was kind of overwhelmed by such an open-ended project. At the time, music was the center of my world and my sister had a cool poster of Jim Morrison in her room that we loved.
So I decided to pay homage to her high school room by painting my interpretation of this poster. I love to play with shadows; the glimmer you can see on peoples’ faces, and the highlights are fun to play with.
Other styles of art that I have explored with at length are Pointillism and Abstract. Pointillism is taking literal circles and building them into something different. Abstract is cool, but there are an infinite number of possibilities, so it can be hard to determine when you are finished.
AFM: You mentioned your mother has had an influence in your progression as an artist. In what way?
Kim: Both of my mother and my grandmother were artists. My mother had multiple hours put aside for art during our lessons for myself and my siblings. We would make cheerio necklaces and other fun art projects. I remember I would sit and watch her for hours as a kid. She does this beautiful, insanely detailed art. The best present I have ever received is her easel. It’s been beat up and repaired twenty times and is held up with wood glue and screws… but it is my most prized possession.
AFM: What got you here, painting a piece of history in a restaurant that will be packed with people year round?
Kim: The last few years have been a whirlwind. At one time, I was in the real estate business, and I would paint on the side, posting artwork on Facebook as I went along. The real estate bubble had burst and I wasn’t selling homes. But I was selling artwork; through referrals and posting my newest paintings on Facebook, I was able to displace my lack of real estate business with my artwork. So I told my broker, ‘I quit and I am going to be an artist’. He thought I came to work drunk that day – could not believe what I was telling him. I haven’t looked back since.
For this project, Noodles and Company reviewed 40 other designers. I sent in every painting I had ever done, and after a few months of discussions, we agreed on a direction. This building pays homage to the history of the building. Before it was Intellectual Property or Tower Records it was the Varsity Theater, which stood here for more than half a century. Noodles and Company really wants to embrace the music and art culture of Austin and has commissioned me to paint a mural of the theater inside the restaurant.
AFM: What other projects are you working on? Any funny requests?
Kim: I am working with the owners of Land & Cattle to create custom paintings of couples that hold their wedding receptions at their banquet hall. I think it’s a cool idea, and it’s something that sets them apart. As far as funny requests, I have artwork in different restaurants and bars, so people will call with some crazy, often unintelligible ideas like “I want a Jimmy Hendrix face but in a man in the moon style.” (Hmm… what exactly is that?) I also get a lot of requests to do nude paintings. People will send in the raunchiest photos of women in positions I have never wanted to see. Doing custom artwork, I get a wide range of requests.
I thank Kim for the interview and stay for an extra 30 minutes just talking about travelling, music, and Norway. Feeling inspired by her point of view, I understand why people clamor for her paintings.
Interview by Chonie Bradley