Passing energy through art and creating art from a place of courageous optimism with Cami Galofre
Cami Galofre is a Colombian contemporary visual artist and educator based in Denver, CO with a national and international exhibition record, including a permanent installation in Meow Wolf’s Convergence Station. She holds a Bachelors degrees in Studio Art and Environmental Science from Colorado College and a Masters of Fine Art from Arizona State University. In addition to her work as an artist, Galofre currently teaches at the Community College of Denver and El Museo de las Americas. In this episode of How Art is Born Season 2, host R. Alan Brooks and Cami Galofre discuss creating art from a place of positivity and passing that energy along through her art, creating for her own satisfaction and taking commissions to create artwork for others, and more.
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ABOUT CAMI GALOFRE
Cami Galofre is a Colombian contemporary visual artist based in Denver, CO. Galofre grew up Quito, Ecuador surrounded by beautiful Andean habitats and then spent her undergraduate years exploring the American West where she fell in love with the landscape. She holds a BA in Studio Art and Environmental Science from Colorado College (2013) and a MFA from Arizona State University (2018). With a national and international exhibition record, Galofre currently lives in Colorado, while teaching at the Community College of Denver and El Museo de las Americas.
R. Alan Brooks (00:01):
Welcome to How Art Is Born, a podcast from the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, about the origins of artists and their creative and artistic practices. I'm your host, R. Alan Brooks, artist, writer, and professor. Today I'm joined by Denver based visual artist and educator, Cami Galofre. Say hello.
Cami Galofre (00:18):
R. Alan Brooks (00:18):
Alright Uh, I guess to start us off, can you tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do?
Cami Galofre (00:24):
Yeah. Um, I'm a visual artist. I am foremost a painter. You could say that's my trade. Um, but lately I've been working with a lot of installation art, which has been really exciting to kind of work beyond the picture plane. Um, but a little bit of background on myself. I'm originally from Columbia, born in Bogota. Uh, and I grew up in Quito, Ecuador.
R. Alan Brooks (00:49):
Cami Galofre (00:49):
Yeah. So Latina, here, <laugh>
R. Alan Brooks (00:53):
Were you, uh, well since we're starting now, let's talk about like, uh, did you, did you get involved in art? Well, I guess my first question is what was the first art that moved you in your life?
Cami Galofre (01:05):
R. Alan Brooks (01:06):
And it doesn't have to be like a specific thing you could say, like a type or a period or whatever.
Cami Galofre (01:09):
No, I actually do have a specific Oh, yeah. Like, like memory triggered <laugh>.
R. Alan Brooks (01:13):
Cami Galofre (01:14):
Yeah. Um, weirdly enough, um, my parents had this painting and it was of like a plaza you could say, full of like different people and colors. And it was like, the people were very abstract, so it was kind of like a big picture. And I remember sitting in front of it for hours. And my dad would sit with me, my mom would sit with me and I would just sit in front of it and just like, imagine like the story that that piece was, was telling. And it was kind of like a folk art piece. You could say, um, who knows where that painting is? They probably still have it, honestly, cuz it meant so much to me when I was like a toddler.
R. Alan Brooks (01:55):
Well why do you, what do you think spoke to you about it? Like what
Cami Galofre (01:58):
I, I think a lot of it was like the colors and like, it was so abstract, but I could still put myself into it. Huh. And so like, there was like a lot of movement. I don't know what was so magical about it. But I still, like, it's one of those things that as a kid I have, I have that as like one of my first memories. And I can still visually see it in my head. And I guess that's probably the first art piece that truly moved me <laugh>.
R. Alan Brooks (02:25):
That's cool. Okay. So. Was there a point for you where you were like, I'm gonna do that? Or was it like always with you that you wanted to create art?
Cami Galofre (02:33):
I didn't know, I think at that time that I wanted to create art. My mom is an artist. Oh, okay. And so I've always been around. What
R. Alan Brooks (02:39):
Kind of art did your mom do?
Cami Galofre (02:40):
Um, a lot of, um, craft pieces. Um, actually don't know how to answer that. <laugh>. Um, yeah, she, yeah. Mostly craft, I guess you could say. Um, but she would do like decorative pieces, that's the word. So she would do decorative work and, um, for either like other people's homes or whatnot. But she was really skilled in creating realistic pieces as well. So I grew up in a studio. Um, so she had her own studio and I would always see her like paint or draw, um, or make costumes for me. So she was very crafty, very artistic. And I think that's just kind of like something that I always like look towards, but I didn't really know that it was like an actual, like, career path you could say. Um, cuz she also, she was an architect by trade. I see. So that's what she did Yeah. As a job. Yeah. So I kind of like got that from her. But when I was little I was like, I just wanna be an astronaut. I don't know. I was like, living in the space. I'm an Aquarius, so <laugh> I was in the stars. Yeah.
R. Alan Brooks (03:45):
Huh. Do you find that, uh, is there any way that, that love for like space and being an astronaut of stuff connects with any of the themes of your work?
Cami Galofre (03:54):
A little bit. I think more on the spiritual side of things. I think in the way I connect with art is definitely a more emotional. Like, I really appreciate beauty and I really appreciate things that are not necessarily abstract, but just kind of have a little bit more of emotional sense to them. Um, and I think that's one of those things that I think when I think about space, like it's an emotional feeling that I have towards it. Um, but it's more, my art is more connected to the earth and the landscape and the things that are more grounded. And if you feel a little bit more, um, spiritual through my work, that's the goal. You know, things that are bigger than yourself.
R. Alan Brooks (04:37):
Well It's interesting because when you talked about that first piece that your parents had, you said it had a lot of motion and the colors made you feel things. Um, and so it's interesting for you to talk about like, um, connecting with spirituality and sort of like humanity in, in the work that you're doing now.
Cami Galofre (04:57):
Yeah. I think that's the beauty about art. And the reason I make art is because it allows me to think beyond myself. Yeah. A lot of my pieces are actually I don't sign them at the front. Huh. And people always are like, you need to do this for whatever reason. Right. But I actually like when pieces are just beyond me, that they become somebody else's and they become more global and, uh, personal to whoever's viewing them. So that's something that I like, like to strive with just passing a little bit of the energy into them.
R. Alan Brooks (05:27):
Do you, do you sign on the back?
Cami Galofre (05:28):
I sign on the back. Yes.
R. Alan Brooks (05:30):
So, okay. This has come up on the show for me. I'm fundamentally an introvert, right? So even though I'm sort of a public figure Sure. Uh, people watching podcasts don't know that I just rolled my eyes when I said that, but sort of public figure uh, I don't, you know, like, it's not the thing I would choose. It's a tool to sort of get people to engage in my art in a different way. Yes. And so it's interesting to hear you talk about, um, wanting your art to be its own experience and not necessarily be attached to you. Does that come from the same place of being sort of introverted or is it something else?
Cami Galofre (06:03):
Um, I think it's something else. I don't think I've considered myself an introvert. But I feel like I'm a shy extrovert. Like, I feel like I've a a when people first meet me, I can be very shy and then they get to know me in a little bit more open up. Um, but I do love connecting with people. I do get my energy from people. Um, so I don't know. Art making in its essence, I think is just like a transfer of energy. So, um, I like to transfer that positivity and that energy and that spirituality. Um, and the way that I, that I feel when I'm on a hike or when I'm like seeing a new sunset, and I know this sounds like very corny, but like at the end of the day, that's where it all comes from. It's from the beauty of like, the little tiny things in the world from like a little plant to a big sunset.
R. Alan Brooks (06:53):
No, it doesn't sound corny. The reason I say that is because, Okay. So like, when you're interacting with nature , um, nobody has autographed it. , it is you're bringing like whatever experience you have. With nature, you're having that experience So is that kind of the place that it comes from for you to want to people to have that experience with your art?
Cami Galofre (07:11):
Yeah, absolutely. I think that's a great way to put it. I don't think I've ever like, said it in that great words, <laugh> or in that phrasing you could say. Um, but yes, especially because the earth is constantly changing and like, you might have like a specific interaction with something and the next person might have something completely different. And I think that's really beautiful and different doesn't mean wrong, it just means that people are just gonna engage with a landscape or with a piece, whether it be mine or somebody else's. Just completely different.
R. Alan Brooks (07:42):
It's so interesting. I mean, I love it. Um, because, so as somebody, as a writer , um, I'm usually trying to convey a specific message and guide people through a specific set of emotional experiences, <affirmative>, to get to where I want. Right. Um, do you have a message in mind when you're creating art? Or is it just completely open and you're okay no matter how people interpret it?
Cami Galofre (08:07):
Yeah, I think I'm gonna answer that question a little bit backwards. Okay. Um, just because something came to mind. Yeah. I think that something that I've always up until recently kind of came to terms with Uhhuh, um, was the idea that art and good art should come from a place of pain or hurt. Or whatever. And there is a lot of incredible art that comes from those places. My art has always come from a really, with a place around positivity and not one that is meant to be like, I'm not trying to tell you to smile or be happy or whatnot. You know, I'm not trying to like, say anything particular about that, but in my experience, the best work I've ever done has always been when I'm like clear minded, positive, engaged with it. So in terms of like a message and what I'm trying to say a lot of the times is to pay attention, relax, enjoy, and like let the, let the vibe like welcome you, I guess. Which is why I've led a lot to like this installation art, because I can do that a little bit more obviously. Um, but
R. Alan Brooks (09:20):
Because you're creating sort of an environment.
Cami Galofre (09:22):
I'm creating that environment Yeah. You know, for people. Um, there are different themes that go into my work that are a little, you can say a little bit more academic. But without all that BS <laugh> in a way. Like, I think that making art from a positive place that is just something beautiful and emotional in that positive way is important.
R. Alan Brooks (09:46):
Well, it's interesting that you bring that up. Cause I, I find that people, um, don't always recognize that being optimistic is a choice and it requires a particular type of strength. You know, particularly if you are aware of the world around you. Uh, I think a lot of times people think that optimism is, um, it comes from ignorance or weakness.
Cami Galofre (10:11):
R. Alan Brooks (10:11):
Oh yeah. Yeah. And so being able to like, observe the world around you and still choose to create art from an optimistic place, I think it's really interesting. Um, and, and I think it's a, like often I, I u I'll put like an adjective before the optimism, like militant optimism or courageous optimism. Uh, so I guess I want to hear more about how that, how that fits into your work. How, how it fuels your work. Like, would you say that your work could be described as courageous optimism?
Cami Galofre (10:43):
Oh, that's so hard. You know, it's like one of those things that you're like, I think I'm brave. <laugh>. Um, I think the place where I'm at right now with my practice. I feel like it took me a while to get to that place of like courageous optimism, what you're saying. Where I'm feeling like really confident that this is what I wanna put out into the world. And it took that, it took a lot of steps for me to like, get to the place of being confident in this and like understanding that. I don't know that some things, I don't know. I, I think there is courage in just making art. And putting art In there. Definitely. And so, like, if there is optimism in that , you know, I am choosing, like you said, it is a choice. I am choosing to make this piece. I am choosing to make this art. I'm choosing to work with these techniques, with these colors and whatnot. And all of that takes bravery and takes courage to like, put it out in the world. And I think that's, I'm blushing a little bit because that is a cool way to put it. Um,
R. Alan Brooks (11:46):
Feel free to use it.
Cami Galofre (11:47):
Yeah. Thank you. <laugh>. Um, but yeah, I think I'm kind of losing the thread a little bit.
R. Alan Brooks (11:52):
Well, it's cool because you're making me think about sort of the phases of being an artist, right? Because unless you have, um, no intention for anyone to interact with your art at all, you usually start out with thinking about how is my art going to affect people? How are people gonna engage with it? Um, which is healthy to an extent, right? , like, it's the basis of a lot of fear, but it's also, um, reasonable. Like, you want, you want your art to reach or affect people in some way. And then I think at some point you find a place where you can do that, but you also come back to whatever your truest voice is. I was writing, uh, so I wrote this graphic novel story, like a noir story for this anthology, it's called Denver Noir. Came out in May. Right. It's my first sort of national thing. Right. <laugh>. And, um, I was, I wrote this character who was like, It's probably the blackest shit I ever wrote. <laugh>. Like, it's like, it's so, it's so, it's such a strong and distinct voice. And it came as a result of talking with another friend. It was talking about having legitimate voices and stuff like that. And it was a place for me where I was like, um, nervous whether the publishers, the editors, whether they would dig it and uh,
Cami Galofre (13:03):
It's a true fear.
R. Alan Brooks (13:04):
Yeah. Yeah. And they did. And I was like, for real. Cause I was so sure that they were like, No, this is too black. You know, They wouldn't say it like that, you know, they'd be like, Well, I don't know if this fits our parameters or whatever it is, you know? Yeah. But like, I think there's something beautiful in having those breakthroughs, right. Where like, you are, you have, you've worked with the tools of engaging people with your art , but then you're also finding a resurgence of your most authentic voice.
Cami Galofre (13:30):
R. Alan Brooks (13:31):
Yeah and it seems like with you, like with the optimism
Cami Galofre (13:32):
Yeah. I, I would, I would say so. Um, and it is nice to like, I mean obviously within the art world, you're always, whether you admit it or not seeking validation for the work that you do, but it is nice to have moments of like, you know what, if this doesn't land with anybody, at least I'm doing it for myself because at least I'm putting that work for myself. And I think even that is valuable, whether it's received well or not. And luckily it has been <laugh>. So that's great.
R. Alan Brooks (14:04):
Was there, uh, like a catalyst for you in terms of, uh, coming back to that most authentic voice? Or was it just like a gradual growth?
Cami Galofre (14:12):
Um, I would say it was a little bit gradual. Um, I did go to grad school and kind of followed all that protocol. Um, you could say, and you know, I've always, since I started taking art seriously, you could say I've always done landscapes. But they were very traditional. There was like a horizon line, a sky land period. And when I was in grad school and I started kind of exploring a little bit more of my mediums, I started kind of playing a little bit with form and the line and I started finding this really meditative work way to work. Um, and so sometimes people are like, Oh, this must take so much patience when in reality is actually the most meditative thing I've ever done. Like, I can't just sit in a chair and meditate like a regular person. Um, I have to be painting. And there was this one moment where I made a piece and it was very, um, white and kind of dark, you could say. And one of my professors shout out <laugh>, she was like, "You know, I feel like you love color. So like why is there no color here?" And that for some reason was so important to hear. Because she was so right. I love color, I love rainbows, I love everything that has to do with that. I wanna explore color more And so now my work has become all about color. And I love that a lot. I love exploring that a lot. Even to the point that I've had people be like, or like friends encourage me to work back in black and white. Even when we were just talking earlier that now I'm like, Okay, what happens if I now work in black and white? What would be the transition in that? So I think a lot about color <laugh>. Yeah.
R. Alan Brooks (15:58):
Well, I guess shout out to educators in general. And all the people who are like influencing the artists of the next generation because that little thing that
Cami Galofre (16:07):
You never know.
R. Alan Brooks (16:08):
Cami Galofre (16:09):
It could be the most simple thing
R. Alan Brooks (16:10):
And then suddenly it's a breakthrough
Cami Galofre (16:11):
Sticks with you forever. Yeah.
Ad Break (Valerie Cassel Oliver) (16:17):
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R. Alan Brooks (17:20):
Okay. So we were talking about this thing of, um, you like having intention about your art and how people experience it, and you were saying that you were gonna start to answer that question backwards. Do you have like, um
Cami Galofre (17:32):
R. Alan Brooks (17:32):
When you're creating something, do you want people to experience it in a certain way? Or is it just kind of like whatever they feel? It's cool.
Cami Galofre (17:39):
That's interesting because I feel I've gotten to the point of creating where it's not about how people receive it. I know we've been talking about how people are receiving it. But when I'm in the studio, the way I paint and the way I trying to communicate things, it comes mostly from like myself. You know? So there's still like me in there, obviously. So what has happened, for example, is when I get commissions, which are fantastic and I love them. And it's always a great source of money, not gonna lie. Um, I do like making them
R. Alan Brooks (18:18):
Cami Galofre (18:19):
I don't love making them because I am making them for somebody else. And there is that kind of like, pressure to make sure that I fulfill what they want. Um, you can always commission though for me, <laugh>. Um, but over the last like couple years and like with COVID and everything, I started making a very intentional point in my studio that whatever make, like whatever I'm making, I'm making it for myself. In the sense that like, it might not go in a gallery. It might not go in a show, it might not get sold, but I have these ideas that I need to get on the canvas and I need to get a paper. That I'm excited about, that I know if I make them, maybe they'll be a place in the world for them or maybe they won't. Um, so that's nice. It's also nice that I don't have to necessarily make work for a living. And that's why I have a day job, which helps me with that. Um, so I'm kind of like in that balance mode right now where I just wanna create for myself, explore the themes that I wanna explore, experiment too. Because with a commission it's really hard to get experimental with that. Um, so I'm kind of like in this transition place in my studio practice where I'm trying to work on different things and new things that without the stress of how they're gonna be received. In a way, But that's very recent granted.
R. Alan Brooks (19:40):
Yeah. Well now you bring up a lot of really interesting things, right? Because there's this whole idea of, um, art as commerce, right? Because I, especially I would say in America, it feels like we're, uh, raised with this idea that art has no value unless you can sell it or make a lot of money off of it. And, um, I think it is good to present the paradigm that if you don't want to create art to sell, then you can just work a job and create art because it's healing to you. Or, um, cause it's cathartic to you And then sometimes that paradigm shifts, sometimes you wanna sell more of it, you know? Like, it just kind of depends.
Cami Galofre (20:18):
And it's always like a, a give and take and a balance. And, you know, I always tell friends that are like, "Oh, I just make art as a hobby." And it's great because like, I also make art as a hobby, Right? Like, what distinguishes me from you is that maybe I've sold a couple more pieces that you , but we're all artists and we're all creating. And it just depends how much time you're able to put into the work, how much time you're able to put it out in the world as well Um, but it is a balance of switching between that, you know? I mean, capitalism is a very real thing, so we have to think about that,
R. Alan Brooks (20:52):
It is, yeah.
Cami Galofre (20:53):
And in the most purest form, we like to make art because we wanna make art <laugh>.
R. Alan Brooks (20:57):
Right. Right. And if you decide to make a living at it, then you can approach it differently. You know, like I have friends who, uh, are like big indie comics people, um, so, you know, like some of the hallmarks of indie comics is that they're largely, they're less accessible art-wise, less accessible story-wise. You know, just a lot of like, um, it's not like reading Superman or something right. And it's fine. Like it's great. But I think if you are making those kind of comics but are mad that you're not doing Superman sells, then you may maybe think differently about how you approach it you know?
Cami Galofre (21:32):
It's like how you, how you think about commercialism With your own work.
R. Alan Brooks (21:36):
And how much of it can you, how much of it can you engage in and still hold onto your voice. You know, which is always a difficult balance.
Cami Galofre (21:44):
Yes. Because you get to a commercial point where you're like, Oh no. Or the opposite where you're like, no one gets me <laugh>. So it's like a nice balance.
R. Alan Brooks (21:52):
Yeah. And I guess how all of that really ends up being sort of the journey as an artist. Hmm. Okay. So you said that, uh, when you were a kid you didn't necessarily think of yourself as an artist. Uh, when, when was the point that you decided, Oh, I'm gonna do this, or it means something to me?
Cami Galofre (22:09):
Yeah. Um, I don't think is that, I didn't know that I was an artist. I think I've always been creative and I always had art. And so I think when I was a kid and growing up and whatnot, art was always something that perhaps I took a little bit for granted because I was naturally talented. Um, through like whatever validation or praise you could say. But I was also really proud of whatever works I did in high school or whatnot. When I went to college, I really wanted to pursue science. Had an amazing science teacher in high school and just opened this world for me. And I thought it was so cool.
R. Alan Brooks (22:50):
What kind of science?
Cami Galofre (22:51):
Just biology. And so I was always like, Oh, biology, ecology, like, you know, the ocean. Like anything that had to do with that I was like.
R. Alan Brooks (23:00):
Sounds like the elements of your art.
Cami Galofre (23:01):
Yes. <laugh>. Exactly. Um, so I, I did wanna explore that and like, I love seeing nature documentaries even to this day because they're so fascinating to me. Um, and then in college I had the opportunity to go to a liberal arts school so I could explore different things. And my schedule always ended up being like science and art. Science and art. I took chemistry
R. Alan Brooks (23:24):
Cami Galofre (23:26):
And I was like, this might not work for me. <laugh>. And it's not that I didn't like chemistry. My just tiny little brain could not get through some concepts. And I still have a degree, like a minor in environmental science from that. But it was one of those things where I'm like, you know what, why don't I major in what I'm good at and see what happens. And the thing with art is that there's no clear trajectory, right? There's no path on how to become an artist. There's things that I eventually kind of played around, again with this idea of commercialism and capitalism. It's like, how can I apply my creativity to a job that would give me some money. And so I went through like maybe potentially architecture, maybe potentially graphic design. And I kind of just thought through all of that and I just came- kept coming back to painting and I was like, I can't work for a client. Like I can't work for somebody else. I have to make it for myself. I wanna have the creative choices for my myself. And that was kind of like one of those things that luckily I had my family on board with that. And when I decided to go to grad school for art, it was just kind of like that defining moment of like, Okay, I'm gonna become an artist. And I think I had the like the kid feel when you go into an adult that you're like, Oh yeah, I'm an artist. And you tell it to everybody <laugh> and then you become an adult and you're like, I'm not an artist. What does it mean to be an artist? So I definitely had those imposter syndrome feelings of like, what does it mean to be an artist with a capital "A" <laugh>. Yeah.
R. Alan Brooks (24:55):
Do you feel like you're an artist with a capital "A" now?
Cami Galofre (24:57):
I think I'm an artist with a capital "A". I think a lot of people are artists with a capital "A." And they're just scared.
R. Alan Brooks (25:02):
What's the difference for you though? Like what, when was the transition? What caused it?
Cami Galofre (25:06):
Um, I think when I aligned the idea that it wasn't just something for fun, believe it or not. Like, even though I do make it for fun. It was something that I decided to take a little bit more seriously and invest my time in and research and learn about other artists and other traditions and you know, just, I think the, maybe it was the academic world that like made me realize that, um, that it wasn't so much just like fluff and a paint brush and a canvas, that there was history in that, that I had a lineage before me. Um, I think maybe that's what kind of consolidated it.
R. Alan Brooks (25:47):
Yeah. That's cool. Okay. This might be sort of a weird question. Cuz it's sort of abstract, but-
Cami Galofre (25:53):
I like weird.
R. Alan Brooks (25:53):
Oh right on. Well since you are making art at this point for yourself, um, how do you know when it's done?
Cami Galofre (26:00):
Oh God. <laugh>. Isn't that the truth? <laugh>? Um,
R. Alan Brooks (26:06):
I tried to prepare you for it.
Cami Galofre (26:08):
Believe it or not, I think that the reason right now I'm in my studio experimenting and the reason I made that choice this, this particular year to kind of like try new things is because I've been getting in a little bit of a rut in terms of like my system, and how I make a painting. And even though my system can vary, there's still like a step one, a step two, a step three, a step four, a step five, it's done. And so I know right now, if you tell me when a piece is ready, it's done. Um, but I'm excited to go into the studio and figure out when it's not gonna be done again. Yeah. So, yeah.
R. Alan Brooks (26:45):
Okay. So we were talking about, you mentioned imposter syndrome, when you feel, uh, fear in the midst of a creative pro project, uh, what's it like and how do you get past it?
Cami Galofre (26:58):
Um, rest. Yeah. I think it's very easy to get tunnel vision and so connected into a piece that, that's where like stress comes from. And that's, for me, that's where fear comes from, when I have a lot of stress and maybe from other things in life too. So I've been very conscious of giving myself time to rest. I just finished a pretty big-ish project recently. And things in my life have kind of built up, so I know that right now I need to take a rest from my art making. And that's okay.
R. Alan Brooks (27:37):
Okay. So when you're saying rest, are you thinking like, uh, I'll take a couple months off? Or like, what, what is a rest?
Cami Galofre (27:43):
Like two hours. No, just kidding. <laugh>, uh, no, I, I don't usually give it a time period. But I'll be like, okay, maybe in a week or so I'll come back to the studio.
R. Alan Brooks (27:55):
So you just kind of feel your way.
Cami Galofre (27:55):
I just feel my way back into it. Yeah. Cuz then I, when I get too stressed and there's other factors in it. That's when fear comes of like, Oh, I'm not good enough. Oh, I don't have time. Oh, I can't like manage this. Oh, I don't have enough money, or whatever the situation is. That's where a fear comes from. And I know that a pause is what I need in order to, you know, reprioritize that. And my priority is all will always be my studio, but in order to keep that as a priority, I need to make sure I give it time to breathe.
R. Alan Brooks (28:25):
That's cool. You know, there's a, I dunno, so many people feel guilty for being artists, right? Like, like we are being selfish or vapid or ridiculous. And so to prove that we deserve to be artists is like we have to create constantly So I love that you, uh, that you give yourself the space to recharge.
Cami Galofre (28:45):
Yeah. Well, and it took a while, like it's easier said than done, but with social media and with everything going on and everybody posting content and whatnot, it's easy to get distracted and distressed about that. So it is a very conscious decision to take the time. So I recommend it. If you're burnt out, take a, take a breath. <laugh>.
R. Alan Brooks (29:07):
Uh, do you, uh, feel any pressure around marketing or, um, like you mentioned social media? So like there's a lot of, uh, you know, like I need to build a following as an artist to make a living as, do you have any of that going on or?
Cami Galofre (29:22):
I feel like, uh, I did a few years ago and now not so much because I've had a great following. No, just kidding. <laugh>. Um, no, because I think I've, I've made my mark in a way and I don't feel like I need to go be above and beyond what's out there on social media. Again, I'm lucky enough that I don't have to make the work for a living, so it's not like my number one income you could say. Um, just back to that. Um, so in thinking about that, not so much pressure about marketing right now. Um, which is great. And Denver has been so amazing that I keep getting incredible opportunities that I have built up. It's not like they're just coming out of thin air. It's just like, it's been years in the making and all of a sudden I can, okay, I can chill out with my marketing. I don't have to be so out there anymore because it seems like the fruits of my work are coming, like this podcast, you know? It was great hearing, uh, from the MCA and, and getting this opportunity. So it's nice that that's kind of happening and I'm gonna ride the, ride that wave a little bit until I feel it necessary to come back into that quote unquote marketing. Yeah.
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R. Alan Brooks (31:10):
Hmm. Okay. So now when you're doing this, this period, like I'm, I guess I'm really fascinated by you being in this period of creating work that is personally fulfilling , um, what feels like a success to you? You know, like when something's finished, how do you like or does that even matter to you?
Cami Galofre (31:30):
I think a successful work for me would be something that, I mean, it's so, so basic, but something that just like makes me relax a little bit or like, or like smile or like, or like whenever I'm impressed by myself, I guess it's just like, oh hell yeah. That was successful in whatever ways. Um, but I think in working with the self fulfillment, I wanna leave room for play and experimentation. And that's something that maybe the goal isn't success. The goal might be just to trust that process, as cliche as that sounds. And maybe the success is learning from that process right now currently.
R. Alan Brooks (32:15):
That is great. I think that cuz that, that applies to like, even life, right? The idea of, um, seeing the value in the journey , you know, cuz like we can always be very focused on when I get to X when I reach this point, you know, then I'll finally be happy Yeah. When most of life is the journey.
Cami Galofre (32:36):
Absolutely. Yeah. And a lot of my work is like, even though, like I said, I have the system when I started, it could change and it could transform. And I think allowing yourself to do that without a final product can be really fulfilling too. Yeah.
R. Alan Brooks (32:55):
Hmm. It's interesting. Okay. So for me, with the graphic novels, I try to write something that means something to me and then figure out how to market it, right?
Cami Galofre (33:03):
R. Alan Brooks (33:04):
<laugh>. Yeah. Because that way I'm not trying to write for the market or, um Exactly. I'm not being taken out of my groove, you know. And so I do end up sort of creating things I wouldn't, I wouldn't say they're as strictly for myself as perhaps what you're talking about right now, but it is fulfilling. And, um, I am one of the writers who likes writing. There's a lot of writers who hate writing. Yeah. They'll be like, I like having written that kind of thing. Yeah.
Cami Galofre (33:32):
I like the piece done <laugh>.
R. Alan Brooks (33:35):
Yes. But it's funny, but I feel that way about drawing comics. They're like miserable to draw <laugh>, but after it's done, I'm like, yeah drew that.
Cami Galofre (33:44):
I didn't love it, but I did it
R. Alan Brooks (33:46):
<laugh>. I didn't love the process. Right. But then when I get it there, I'm like, man, it was, I'm so glad I did it. Do you have any, like, is it, do you enjoy the whole process of creating your art?
Cami Galofre (33:58):
Oh my gosh, no. <laugh>. Um, there are bits and moments of it. Like, I, I hate building a canvas. I hate woodworking. I hate the priming process. Like, I hate all of that of the preparation. To get that started. I absolutely hate it. Do I do it? Yes. Is it necessary? Yes. Do I hate it? Yes.
R. Alan Brooks (34:23):
You know, I think that's the thing that a lot of people who are quote unquote aspiring artists don't get is that, um, artists work. Right. Like the inspiration is there for a minute, but it goes away pretty quickly. , it's great for the ideas, but actually finishing something, there's gonna be some parts you don't like.
Cami Galofre (34:40):
R. Alan Brooks (34:41):
It's a labor.
Cami Galofre (34:41):
Yeah. And like, what people don't realize too is that there's the production stage of it. But what they don't realize is that the, that idea could have happened like a year ago. A week ago, months ago. And all of that is part of that production And so the, how much time do you spend on the piece that's like impossibly to say, because the inception of it could go back to so like however long. And I'm not like sitting there timing myself on how long this is gonna take. Like I'll go into studio for a little bit or later or whatnot. Like I'm sure when you write , you write a little bit, you're not setting a timer of how many hours you've been working on it. And so it is interesting because every work has a different life to it that you can, you put the time into it, but it could be in the morning or at night or whatever. Like the inspiration comes from, like you said. So that's part of it too.
R. Alan Brooks (35:40):
Hmm. Such a, it is such an interesting journey to figure out like <laugh> Yeah. Like what, what, what you love about being an artist, what you don't like and how to, how to make it more efficient and but also still have the adventure of the journey and the process.
Cami Galofre (35:56):
Yeah. I had a friend once that said, art is like, I live for it, I hate it, I love it. It's what I live for it, but it's just kind of like all these things in combination. I said that completely poorly. That's not how she said it, but <laugh>, it was kind of like, along those lines is like, I hated, I love it, I hate it, I love it. Again, it's like What makes me happy? What makes me sad? What makes me angry about what makes me excited? And it's all of that process. There's no way to just pinpoint it.
R. Alan Brooks (36:24):
Yeah. And I guess in many ways that's the nature of passion, right? Like if you feel passion about something, you're gonna have emotional, uh, extremes. and all of that gets to go into the thing that you create, which is ultimately a beautiful process. So, uh, you were talking about exploring, um, in the studio during this phase of your life. Are there particular ways you wanna explore? Are you just gonna be like, sit down in front of a canvas and be like, what happens? Let's see what happens.
Cami Galofre (36:53):
<laugh>, uh, you know, maybe, Um, I think one of the things that I wanna do is go back to basics. Yeah. I teach drawing as well. And in my class I preach so much about like regardless of what skill level is always so good to just go back to the basics. And so right now I'm like really yearning to just get a piece of paper and charcoal and see where that goes. Um, in other ways I have these ideas in my head of specifically paintings that I wanna create that are completely different from what I'm making right now. And this is what fear comes from, you know, because it's like, I feel like I've built almost this brand that I don't know if I can. I sure can, but I don't know how to break from it quite yet. And so that's one of the things that I'm like, that's kind of keeping me a little bit tucked in my safety net. Um, but, so I think I have a couple of different approaches where I wanna do this, um, charcoal and paper or just like creating something completely different and see where that goes. Um, but yeah, it's a lot of fear with that one.
R. Alan Brooks (38:04):
Right. The unknown. All right. So, uh, what's next? Where are you headed? Like what things are you looking forward to working on in the future? What do you have coming on the horizon?
Cami Galofre (38:13):
Yeah. Um, currently actually I have an exhibition up in Denver right now, uh, on Vine Street. It's at the store room and it's actually a window front Nice. That I collaborated with my friend Holly Nordic shout out. Um, so it's up until December, so if anybody's strolling through Vine Street, you'll see it. Um, but in terms of other projects, I don't. And I think that's okay. Um, I think I have some things coming up with the MCA hopefully in the spring. Um, and a couple of projects in the works that I'm not a hundred percent able to talk about right now.
R. Alan Brooks (38:55):
That's when, you know, it's good.
Cami Galofre (38:56):
Yeah. Hopefully <laugh>. Uh, but as of right now until the end of the year, I was gonna say end of sep like semester I work in September. <laugh> in, in semesters. So like up until the end of semester, um, nothing. Okay. Um, there's also a show in Costa Rica that I have right now, but
R. Alan Brooks (39:16):
I mean, you keep saying there's nothing but then shows keep popping up.
Cami Galofre (39:19):
I know. I feel like that's always what happens. People are like, So what are you doing? I'm like, blank. And then I'm like, Yeah. And then they just like, Oh yeah, it's this and this and this. But those are all current things and Yeah. For the near future, nothing, which I'm excited about. Yeah. All right. If
R. Alan Brooks (39:34):
You want to check out your stuff, like online or something, where would they go?
Cami Galofre (39:37):
Yeah, they can go to my Instagram. Um, it's at c a m i g l f r. Cami with my last name without the vowels, I guess. And then, um, I also have a website, which is just my name .com. Yeah.
R. Alan Brooks (39:52):
All right. So then I usually like to end by asking what is your pleasure these days? What's inspiring you? What, what are you enjoying? Like, tv, movie, art books? Whatever. Like what's,
Cami Galofre (40:05):
Yeah. Um, live music. Yeah. I'm a big fan of live music scene. I think Denver's a great place to experience all sorts of different music and I really feel my best when I'm on the dance floor, so. Yeah.
R. Alan Brooks (40:22):
It's funny cause I know Karma from the dance floor.
Cami Galofre (40:25):
You do, you really?
R. Alan Brooks (40:26):
That's how we know each other, yeah.
Cami Galofre (40:26):
Yeah. I, I love dancing and I love experiencing music. Um, so that's usually Yeah. Where I'm at right now with that.
R. Alan Brooks (40:37):
Word. All right. Well, I'm sure we'll all see each other on the dance floor. Yeah. That's a good thing.
Cami Galofre (40:42):
R. Alan Brooks (40:42):
Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. I really appreciate it.
Cami Galofre (40:45):
R. Alan Brooks (40:46):
Thanks to our listeners, please be sure to subscribe to How Art is Born, wherever you get your podcast, for more episodes. And if you can leave a review, it really helps us out. Check out MCA Denver on YouTube and subscribe there too for behind the scenes clips from today's episode. Don't forget to visit MCA Denver's current exhibition The Dirty South on view now.
Cami Galofre (41:04):
It's so good.
R. Alan Brooks (41:06):
It gets your endorsement. Nice!