September 5, 2014 saw the Hammond Hall art gallery full of art enthusiasts and students alike for the opening of Jacksonville State University alumni and art instructor at Gadsden State Community College Mario Gallardo’s show, “Tiny Deaths.”
Gallardo was able to share his creative process as well as insights into his pieces. He creates sculptures, installations, and photographic art by using extreme messages, imagery, and metaphors.
The majority of his pieces are created with found objects, or objects that already exist and that he has found in the world around him, such as fossils.
Gallardo spends a lot of time exploring and searching for new found objects and ideas from what he finds to create new artistic pieces.
Of fossils, Gallardo mentioned that he is “fascinated by them” and that he likes to inspire people around him through his works of art.
He elaborated on fossils by saying, “If I wasn’t an artist, I’d probably be a scientist,” because of how much he enjoyed using them to create or support his work.
Before he begins creating a piece, Gallardo spends time brain storming about what he wants to do, then projecting his works to make them more presentable, understandable, and insightful.
He spends many hours creating each piece and that he must recognize the beauty in something in order for it to capture his thoughts completely.
Gallardo also explained that his work comes from a personal perspective and shared that “poetry really influences and helps me with my work.”
One of his favorite poems by Felicia Hemans speaks about the relationship and close bond of a mother and child. He felt connected to the poem and said that it reminded him of his mother and the bond between them.
Gallardo shared his experience about his mother, who had lost her legs and died shortly after. After she passed away, he had her cremated and some of her ashes were implemented in a few of his works.
He claimed that the way he used the ashes in the piece represented that they are stars in the universe, and that it symbolized to “live your life no matter what.”
He explains that he spends a great bit of time on what he does, and that it’s definitely something worth doing in his lifetime.
Art Department senior Ashlee Jones had this to say about the opening, “His subject matter was certainly unique, but his sculpture on the wall was amazing. He said that it was supposed to emulate a hurricane, despite it having a calm intensity.”
Bryce Lafferty, a professor in the Art Department who teaches drawing and painting, said of the gallery, “It’s nice to have Mario’s work here. He’s provided a lot of opportunities for students to show in the Walnut Gallery at Gadsden State and so there’s a nice connection. It’s nice to have the connection between the two schools.”
“Tiny Deaths’ will be in the Hammond Hall art gallery until the end of the month of September.