We had the good fortune of connecting with Rich Gallego and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rich, what’s the end goal, career-wise?
In the short term, my goal is to make at least a stable living from selling my work and teaching workshops. That’s the practical necessity. Artistically, my goals are to continue to improve technically, to add something significant to the body of knowledge artists have at their disposal, and last, this is the big one, to end up being a historically relevant painter. I imagine some art teacher 70 years from now telling a student, “If you really want to know how to paint cast shadows, study the paintings of Rich Gallego!” That would be great!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Primarily, I’m a landscape painter. I prefer the practice of plein air painting. That is, I like to paint on location, from life.. This allows me to more accurately assess value and color than I’d be able to using a photographic reference. Using this method requires me to paint relatively small, usually no larger than 11×14. Once the on site (plein air) study is done, I can take it back to my studio and decide whether or not to make a larger studio painting using the Plein air piece as a reference. As to what sets me apart, I think mostly it’s just my personal aesthetic. Now, in fact, that’s what sets any artist apart. But, if enough people appreciate my personal aesthetic, I can make a living.
I’m at a point in my career where I often get invited to do demos for various art organizations, teach workshops, and critique work for other artists. Recently, I served on the faculty for the third time at the annual Plein Air Convention and Expo in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I so appreciate these opportunities because it has taken years of consistent effort to get to this point. Years of study and practice. Years of promoting my work with essentially, no advertising budget. Years of learning how to use social media effectively. And, did I mention years of study and practice?
I’ve learned that being a full time professional artist is like any other endeavor in the sense that it comes down to persistence. One has to constantly strive to improve their skills both artistic and business related. There is so much rejection in the art world. Whether it’s a collector choosing someone else’s work over mine or, a show choosing not to include my work, one must have thick skin and not be deterred from their objective.
I think life can be very challenging. I believe beauty can be very therapeutic. I see it as my job to remind people of the astounding beauty that is present in our world if we will just remember to acknowledge and savor it. And if we do that, I believe it makes us better able to handle life’s difficulties.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take them hiking at Vasquez Rocks or, if they were up for it, drive to the Eastern Sierra for some hiking, fishing, or painting. ( many of my friends are other painters). I live in the high desert northeast of Los Angeles but, I don’t much care for big cities so, I tend to stay away from them when possible.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Family and friends. My Mother, Beverly, and my sister, Terry, have helped financially when I needed funding for various painting trips. They’ve been rock solid in providing support when I’ve needed it. My sister, Julie, uses social media to spread awareness of my work. And my wife, Ludelle, has always been supportive of my efforts to make my living as a fine artist.

Website: richgallego.com

Instagram: Richgallegoart

Facebook: Richard E. Gallego

Other: Locals.com/Artscapes

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.