By SPECIWOMEN Photography RUBY ROSE
"In my future work, I want to continue to address my identity and work to resolve bigger issues such as gender stereotypes and the merging of racism, eurocentrism, and sexism."
Who are you?
My name is Gala Prudent and I am a (newly) 17 year old artist and student living in Brooklyn, New York. Since birth, I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by musicians and artists. My mom is a designer and my dad is a fitness trainer with a deep interest in music, design and creation. I go to a school that is largely academic and pursue my work outside of school, but have always had incredibly strong and supportive art teachers. I also attended The Oxbow School last semester, where I spent four months in Napa, CA studying art and humanities. I am incredibly taken by music and culture. I’ve interned at Mass Appeal magazine and am usually at a show or gallery opening when I’m not working on homework or artwork.
How did you first get into art?
I have always had an interest in creative work. However, I held a strong dislike for painting until I discovered that there was more than watercolor. I began taking my art more seriously during my preteen years. Although I wasn’t making anything with deep meaning, I was obsessed with hyperrealism and tried to mimic images as closely as I could. Although my work has departed from simple mimicking, the technical skill that I developed during that period still helps me in my work.
What is the purpose of your work?
My work used to be solely for my own aesthetic pleasure. However, after spending a semester at The Oxbow School, an art based semester school for high school students, my work has gained a clearer purpose. I now aim to use my art to address and begin to resolve my own issues. Focusing my work on specific problems or narratives in my life has allowed me to better understand them and talk about them more easily. For me, art is the most thorough form of catharsis.
What materials do you use?
For painting, I usually use oil paint on canvas or paper. Recently, I’ve delved into interdisciplinary work. I've used layerings of oil paint and acrylic paint on vinyl, canvas and pen, digital media and performance.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by Chuck Close for his dedication to his work, by Janine Antoni for her perfect combination of performance and fine art, by Marina Abramović for her rawness, and by Alexander McQueen for his never-ending perfectionism. I am also endlessly inspired by my peers. While at The Oxbow School, I had the privilege of access to incredible people around the clock. I constantly had conversations that sparked a creative nerve in me. One artist that stands out from my experience there is Sendra Uebele, who is not only incredibly talented, but also smart, kind, and open minded.
I am also deeply inspired by music! I love to listen to Flying Lotus, Earl Sweatshirt, Erykah Badu, João Gilberto, Corbin (spooky black) and William Basinsky while I work.
Where do you prefer to work?
I love working in open studio spaces. When I do so, however, I take an hour while my gesso dries and mark off an area that solely mine with tape and chairs. Having a designated space, even when it’s in public, allows me to think clearly and execute efficiently. I enjoy working in an excruciatingly organized space. Because oil paint can be so messy, I need to use it in a clean space so I can have some order.
Who is your work for?
When I am not working in response to an assignment, I make my work for myself. To draw back to art as catharsis, I really use art as a form of therapy and a platform for personal inquiry and self discovery.
Has your art ever been on display?
I have had my art on display in student shows at The Oxbow School, The Berkeley Carroll School, and Art Workshop Experience.
What are your favorite places in your city or around the world?
Because I live in a big, crazy city, it is incredibly important to find areas of calm. Within New York, I love Laguardia Gardens on Laguardia Place, Saturdays NYC in SoHo, Dover Street Market, that huge rock in Central Park, and a certain hidden dock under the Brooklyn Bridge. I love al of the urban spaces that have been re-invaded by nature.
I love the San Francisco and the Northern Coast of California. There’s nothing like it. I also love Soglio in Switzerland, Viareggio in Italy, and Paris.
How has the female role played into your life?
As I get older, the challenges that I face because of my gender become increasingly clear. I have been so lucky to have peers that support me as I address these challenges both in my work and in my personal life. I was sexually assaulted in February. Since then, empowering myself and other women has been so important. It is too rare to have real conversations about issues like consent education and college rape. Education about feminism that defies the gender binary and intersectional feminism is also necessary. In my future work, I want to continue to address my identity and work to resolve bigger issues such as gender stereotypes and the merging of racism, eurocentrism, and sexism.