Artist Interview: Damien Hoar de Galvan

This week we interviewed artist, Damien Hoar de Galvan, as we prepare for the STICKS & STONES exhibition opening this Friday, Feb. 19th at Brilliant Champions Gallery. Damien lives and works in Boston, MA and makes wonderfully crafted sculptures. We met up with him in Brooklyn and had the pleasure of getting to know him and his work a little better. 

How would you describe your subject matter or the content of your work?

- I make smallish in scale abstract wooden sculptures.  I work in a very process based, intuitive way. Often as I’m making them I think I am weighing formal concerns over concepts or messages. Humor is important to the pieces, I want them to be funny along with happy and slightly off kilter. I guess they are emotionally informed, maybe a bit perverse or awkward too.

For the folks unfamiliar with your work, what mediums do you work with?

- I mainly work with wood. As often as it can be it is recycled or “found”, I do my best not to buy materials (besides paint, glue, screws etc.). These days most of the materials I use are building materials. I recently renovated my house so most of the sculptures are built from a combination of stuff from the demolition and then scraps from the rebuilding.

How does your personal history work its way into your practice?

- Both my parents are artistic, creative people which I think was influential. My father worked in the world of labor/building and so I grew up seeing tools, materials and how they are used. I was always attracted to the arts but didn’t really figure out I could do something in them until sometime in college. When I found painting I realized I really didn’t have a plan to do anything with my life and that I would try and be an artist. It’s been at least 15 years since then and I’m still trying...

What are you presently inspired by— are there particular things you are reading, listening to or looking at to fuel your work?

- I listen to a lot of podcast’s while I’m working. Mostly comedy one’s, I guess I love listening to people engaged in conversation. I think hearing people talk about things they are interested in is very….helpful? I don’t talk to many people during the day so maybe I’m making up for that too? My teenage self would also be very disappointed in the fact that I’ve also been listening to a lot of Grateful Dead.  I think it may have something to do with the length of the songs and the kind of consistent tone or feeling I get from that type of music, it helps on long days alone. And then of course there’s social media. I look at my phone a lot, Instagram is great for art in a lot of ways I think. Sometimes I look at my work which is generally made up of little bits of material glued together as physical manifestations of a Facebook or Twitter feed, but just as often I think that’s a rather stupid idea...

Does your work plays with functionality or form? Can you tell us more about how you integrate either into your work?

- Not so much functionality right now. In some of my earlier sculptures there was the question of what is this thing and what does it do? I’m not too concerned with that anymore. I suppose form is still very important, I make “art” objects now.

Do you have an art studio? If so, what does having a physical space to make art in mean for your process, and how do you make your space work for you?

- Currently I don’t really. I had studios in Boston for over 10 years but moved to the suburbs in 2014 so since then I work from home. I haven’t really set up a proper work space, I usually do the cutting in the basement or garage and then the rest of the work in the kitchen or living room. I think my wife will soon force me into a proper studio….

Do you see your work as relating to any current movement or direction in visual art or culture?

- Not really. I think that’s maybe more a question for the viewer?

Besides your art practice, are you involved in any other kind of work?

- I have an almost 6 yr. old daughter which is one of my jobs.  Sometimes I do art handling at museums or galleries or for my wife who is an interior designer.

Do you have a motto?

- “I don’t know” is probably as close to a motto as I have, it’s my answer for most of life.