These Portraits Capture Athletes Whirring in Motion

Gian Galang celebrates and highlights the athlete’s body in his bold and energetic paintings.

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Apr 9 2016, 7:00pm

All images courtesy of the artist 

The athlete’s body in motion inspires the work of Gian Galang. The New York-based artist often creates editorial pieces for Vice’s Fightland, but his passion for sports is deeply personal. He grew up loving Ninja Turtles and Jackie Chan and studying martial arts, and now he practices Muay Thai and channels this love of combat sports into his work.

“I find the movements and compositions of fighting and martial arts to be the most interesting and rich subject matter,” Galang tells The Creators Project. “There are so many different styles and movements to mix and match into different compositions.”

Often featuring  bright, highly-saturated backgrounds, Galang’s pieces bring to mind the screenprint work of Andy Warhol, particularly his Triple Elvis. But in Galang’s compositions the focus is on movement rather than simply the body or face of some recognizable figure. Each piece conflates time, showing the viewer multiple actions as if they are occurring all at once.

Through his process, Galang focuses on creating his own sense of movement. “Generally, I try to make expressive, bold, textured paintings on paper or other surfaces, then scan in/collage/tighten up in photoshop,” Galang writes. “I usually paint one figure at a time so I can focus on making wild strokes, then piece together multiple paintings in the computer to make tight compositions.”

Many of the figures in his pieces have pupil-less eyes, making them almost eerie to look at. They seem caught completely in their own motion, lost in the way that their bodies are shifting through space — or the way that they are interacting with another body. Galang’s pieces capture the in-between moments: the space between a punch being thrown and landing, the facial expressions showing an athlete pushing themselves to the limit.

To learn more about Gian Galang's work, click here

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