We had the good fortune of connecting with Felix Galvan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Felix, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
Being from California, my interests were highly influenced by the many creatives in my life. Both of my parents were creative thinkers, and therefore, was raised in a creative environment. One thing I do know, is that there are certain values that they taught me through example, that allowed me to be able to become a working artist. My father, where I get my dedication and work ethic, always taught me the importance of presence in my work. He is also the most honest critic of my work, so I’ve always been able to inquire knowing I would get an honest reply. That, to me, is as good as gold. My mother is the source of my adventurous side. She’s the reason I never gave up on my dream to pursue a creative career. I consider myself fortunate to have my family as a strong foundation of support and creativity.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
A professor once asked me during a critique what the biggest influence of my artwork was. That was a hard question to answer at the time. Other than being put on the spot, I was having a hard time deciphering what the direction of my artwork was. My paintings and sketchbook were mostly full of personal cathartic work. Today, I would say that, while my work is still largely personal in subject matter, it is mostly a reflection of my experiences with meeting the many characters in my life. Whether it’s someone that I made up in a lucid dream, or a person I spoke to at a local bar in Japan. Most of my works are narratives based on those experiences and characters I have met. I think that many things have led me to be able to do art for a living today. I’m glad that those things have all given me the experiences that I can draw upon to continue living this dream. Even though my work can consist of long nights and ambitious work deadlines, I always feel like I’m working on something that I’m putting my heart into. With the pursuit of my career, I have also encountered challenges that have made me grow. Finding my voice as an artist has been one of those challenges. Ultimately, I’ve overcome much of those challenges by staying as productive as possible. Even if it meant setting simple goals, such as, drawing every day or learning how to monetize my artwork so that I could sustain a realistic work/life balance. As I progress in my field, I want to be able to distinguish my art even more. One career goal I have is for the message in my work to remain sincere, while being able to travel and show my work to people that can take something from it. I want the world to see how a brown boy has now become a man with a voice.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The first place I would take a friend is my favorite place to get ramen. This place is quietly hidden in the corner of a food court inside of the Mitsuwa Japanese market in Venice. They have, what I consider, to be some of the best miso ramen. Their ramen is a simple, but flavorful work of art. While at the marketplace, I would get a few beers to take to my art studio in the arts district, where we could have a drinks as we watch the sherbet-colored sun set behind the Los Angeles skyline. There are also quite a few decent breweries within an affordable Uber ride’s distance, such as the Angel City brewery. Depending on which friend it is, I’d definitely take them surfing. The surf scene is a very tight knit community that always has something going on. Bonfires at the beach with my friends after a surf session is my favorite thing to do to end the evening. I also enjoy taking friends to art shows at my favorite gallery, Giant Robot, in Sawtelle. Japan Town in Sawtelle is full of gems like Giant Robot and Anzu, where they have my favorite Japanese style fried chicken. Another gem that’s just down the street, Yamaguchi, is a small plant nursery where you can see some beautiful generations-old bonsai trees on display. These are some of my favorite go-to places that I would take my friends to on a week long trip.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
These days I have many people deserving of my consideration and endless gratitude. One such person is Eric Nakamura, owner of the Giant Robot Gallery in Sawtelle, Los Angeles. I will forever be grateful to him for letting me show my work at a gallery for the first time at Giant Robot. Being that I had seen some of my favorite artist’s work for years there, it meant a lot to me that I sold my first piece of art at Giant Robot Gallery. Eric is a person that keeps pushing me to improve my work, and someone that has given me some of the most useful advice as a working artist. Being able to get my start at Giant Robot is a privilege, to me. First shoutout goes to Eric Nakamura and his gallery Giant Robot in Sawtelle, California. In my earlier years as an aspiring creative, I had a mentor in middle school that was the first person outside of my family that took interest in my artistic abilities. I had had teachers before that acknowledged my interest in the arts, but I don’t think they ever considered art as a feasible career path for me. Deep down I knew I loved art and that I wanted to let the fires of creativity burn, but most teachers up until then seemed to just want to put out the embers instead of stoking my creative potential Simply put, outside of my family and close friends, Mrs. Schaefer was the first person who took my artwork seriously. She mentored me at a time in my youth where, like many others, I was lacking direction. Thankfully, she was instrumental in giving me the confidence to take a stand for my work, consequently, giving me the first boost I needed to eventually make a life out of what used to be nothing short of a dream. Unfortunately, it has been quite some time since I have known anything about my mentor, the art teacher that saw something in a young brown boy. This shout out goes to Mrs Schaefer. Thank you, sincerely.