Darkness. A mysterious and threatening fog. Crawling creepy monsters. Demons and fallen angels. That mystical universe of the Italian-born photographer Andrea Galad reflects only one side of the coin. On the other side you will find just as much warmth, secureness and vulnerability. This field of tension, that extends from one extreme to another, creates some space for beautiful creatures of the night and human monsters.
Does that sound contradictory? Maybe, but I just can’t help that Andrea would have been a gracious painter of the time of baroque or renaissance epoche.
How are you? What did you do before starting to answer this interview? We are a bit curious how you spend your summer.
Andrea Galad: Well, I’m not feeling great actually, my summer is and probably will be quite boring; before I started to answer this interview I was cleaning the flat and then editing some pictures from the last shooting; nothing really exciting. This summer I will keep myself busy with my photographic project – a book about astrology and I still have a lot to do and to plan.
Actually, we wanted to do this little interview a few months ago. But we did not find the time to do it. But now… finally. So allow me this question: What has happened to you since Container Love 2017?
Andrea Galad: The last year was the worst year of my life, indeed. I had the most intense and destroying experience ever that led me to a severe form of depression. I locked myself in my room for 3 months, almost without eating, losing many kilos as friends, screwing up all the jobs and things i had to do and removing myself completely from the outside world. With some help from my cousin, which is a therapist working in London, I get out from that state in April – still very damaged and disenchanted about life. Now I just focus on my daily routine, I avoid any kind of serious emotional situation and I focus on the only thing I can control in my life, that is art.
Looking at your pictures, they have something like an inexplicable attraction with all that gloom or darkness and mystery. Some pictures are more romantic, others scarifying or threatening. Do you agree? Why is that? And do we see your own demons in? Or is that just my interpretation and do I have to think about my own demons?
Andrea Galad: Love and death are the recurring theme in my art. Eros and Tanathos which are the same thing for me personally. There are no such demons, from my point of view. If you see demons in my work, it’s because you think you have demons inside of you. If you see the beauty and the magic it’s simply because you are beautiful and also magic. What you call darkness is the brightest and truest side of my soul. With my photography I want to say that loss and absence are part of life as well as love and beauty – like every good piece of art, my works are mirrors, you can see only yourself, what you are, what you have and what you have lost.
To quote the visitors of the last Container Love exhibition, where we showed some of your pictures, your work is a reminiscent the of Victorian-era painting, somewhere between baroque and classicism. Maybe some art historian will judge my now… it’s ok. Is that the source or the birth of your inspiration?
Andrea Galad: You are almost right. It’s a big mix of all my dearest paintings in the art history – Cranach, Caravaggio, Bougoureau, Bocklin – but also add up my love for victorian literature, from Mary Shelley to Edgar Allan Poe. If I have to be honest, what mostly touch my soul are classic and neo classic sculptures. Even if it’s away from photography, I try to put those lines, those bodies and vivid dynamics in my pictures.
How would you define your own artistic style?
Andrea Galad: Being a mix of all the things I love, I would call it Neo Classic Photography. Even though Neo Romantic sounds also nice. Once a very ludic and funny friend of mine told me, that I’m into porn nouveau, after watching a series of erotic nudes. I couldn’t agree with her more.
At Container Love we asked the guests what they see in your pictures and what your intention could be about, or whatever occurs to them. Let me tell you that your pictures were among the darlings. I remember some spoken keywords like strength and vulnerability and sadness and peace… So I think it is quite fair to ask the following question: What is the story behind these pictures?
Andrea Galad: As i said before I speak about my life in a very deep, romantic and extreme way. I collected sad and overwhelming experiences that brought me to express myself in this way. If you are very attentive and sensitive person you can get my story just watching my pictures.
After you create your ideas in your special photographic way, you edit them, sometimes very strong. Where do you see yourself personally: more as a photographer or more as an artist (if there is a difference)?
Andrea Galad: I think everybody could be an artist, photographer or not. Once somebody told doing things with your hands only, then you are a worker. If you do things using your hands and brain then you are an artisan. And if you do things with your hands, brain and heart then you are an artist. I’m not a photographer only using a camera to express myself. I know nothing about photography and I’m not interested in. I always wanted to be a painter but I’m not patient enough. ☺️
Nudity and pictures of sexuality is often a double-edged sword. Have you ever experienced that your audience completely misunderstood your intentions? And what did that do to your way of taking pictures?
Andrea Galad: Of course I’ve been misunderstood. I started to take pictures in Italy when i was 20, using naked people as models. At that time most of the people thought that I create that kind of pictures just because I wanted to see naked people – still now. They never really get my intention or my vision behind my work. But it’s never been a problem because I love to shock provoke – especially close minded people. For me their embarrassment is extremely entertaining. Sexuality and nudity are the most natural aspects of being human. It’s so plain and simple that I really get amused seeing people who have problems with that.
What is your dream or goal in relation to your artistic work? Do you have a vision of you, being old and gray and wise…?
Andrea Galad: I am already old, gray and wise, even if I look like a 28 years old guy. I have no expectations for the future and no big desires anymore. Now I just want to keep on working on a photographic book – it’s about astrology. I’m working hard and put in all that beauty, magic and “darkness” that i still have. To show exactly who I am, it’s gonna be an intense masterpiece.
The only floating thing in my life is my art and my ability to express myself, as I said in the beginning. Something that never left me and always been the cure for all of these absurdities of life.
Thank you for the interview, Andrea. Lots of Love.
Photos © Andrea Galad