I met with Suzanne Galazka in her classroom at Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery located inside the Auer Center for Arts and Culture in downtown Fort Wayne. Her classes are held in an interior room intentionally tucked out of view and away from the hustle and bustle of meetings, coffee chats and anxious children waiting their turn for ballet class.
Galazka welcomed me to her space, the space where her passion and energy explode, if you only ask the right questions. As I sit down with artists who allow me to crawl into their heads, I am learning quickly that the most interesting words flow when they are prompted to share their creative process. The first words from Galazka’s mouth sum up what many artists describe.
“Drawing is something I just have to do,” she said. “I think about art every day. My studio at home is so packed with drawings I have no surface to draw. [There are] stacks of thousands of drawings ... It must be hard living with an artist.”
Hard? I don’t know about that. Interesting? I am sure.
Galazka has an artist’s soul. She’s driven by a force that lives within her, an energy that causes her to sense the world in a way that is deeper and more fulfilling than many of us could ever realize. Even as a young child she attached a profound interpretation to her surroundings. She recalled riding in the car, watching the Michigan landscape pass by her window. (I picture her quiet and alert, with eyes intensely focused on the tiny details that raced past her view, her hand pressed against the window, dreaming and seeing.) As Galazka traveled, she studied the landscape. But even as a child Galazka didn’t just see the landscape; she felt it, as if her hand were stretched out and running over the tops of trees, up and down hills and across the rooftops of barns and silos.
“I was very tactile. I could feel trees and power lines. I could mold the landscape with my hands,” Galazka says of her childhood road trips. Like many of us look for pictures in the clouds, Galazka saw figures in the rolling hills.
“I could see a reclining figure in the landscape … bushes coming out of an armpit, a rolling hill became a hip. I saw knees, elbows, legs. (It helped me not be carsick.)”
Galazka practiced drawing using her mother and sister as models. She describes drawing as a transformative experience.
“I felt something different when I would draw. I could feel going over the contour of them. It was a different type of feeling, a tactile feeling that I translated onto paper.”
Galazka’s love for art was found as a child, and she developed her skill for making art as she grew. She attended the College for Creative Studies near Detroit where she gained a foundation in art history and drawing technique. She particularly enjoyed an anatomy figure class because she learned the function of the human skeleton. It was in this class that she began to look at a surface as a volume, and to think about what was underneath. She often thinks of the figure as a hunk of clay.
“The bones underneath provide the character of the pose,” she says.
Galazka’s studies brought her to Philadelphia where she focused on painting. A friendship with a Polish priest, along with her Polish heritage, led her to Poland where she studied art history for three years. She moved back to Detroit, then again to Europe where she worked for the United Nations, all the while working on her art, looking at art and absorbing art culture every day. She came back to the states and hopped around our country a bit, living in Little Rock and Memphis until she finally ended up in Fort Wayne.
Having been immersed in some of the finest art the world has to offer, the transition to Fort Wayne was not easy. “Artlink saved me,” says Galazka. “I work in a place where I get to look at art every day.”
Galazka explains that she sees some very good art pass through the gallery. “The bad art I just don’t look at,” she chuckled, “but the good paintings pull me in. I look at the brush strokes and I can see the layers all the way back to the canvas. I look for the paint behind the paint.” She studies the dollops of paint, the sweeping brush strokes and the ridges created by the coarse hairs of the brush.
Our city is fortunate to have such a resource. Galazka is a true art lover and a nurturing instructor who shares her passion with her drawing students at Artlink. Classes are small and filled with a range of ability from university students to working artists. Galazka works with live, nude models and always draws or paints alongside her students. Her goal is to teach her students to capture what the model is feeling or doing, not necessarily create a perfect likeness.
“The feeling is most important,” she says.
She wants her students to learn to see the world as she does and she leads them with a gentle, nurturing teaching style. A very giving instructor, she projects her passion onto others. It is the student’s responsibility to pick it up and run with it. If you listen and watch her carefully, Galazka will lead you to discover new skills.
Classes at Artlink are intended for professional and amateur artists as well as students. You can find Galazka teaching from 6:30-9:30 on Monday and Thursday evenings. Cost is $3 per hour to cover the cost of the model.
She extends this invitation to prospective students: “Come, learn to see. Come and draw. Come and work. We’re sweating in here.”
When speaking of her own work Galazka describes her art as loose, never tight, a style that allows people to see the process of creation. When working with live models, she often works quickly. Sometimes only five minutes are needed for Galazka to capture a specific emotion on her paper. She may choose to stop working once the essence of a pose has been captured. The minimalist lines allow the viewer to fill in the gaps, which is why her work is so appealing: it asks the viewer to finish the piece in his/her own mind.
From February 16 through March 10, Wunderkammer Company, located at 3402 Fairfield Avenue, will feature Galazka along with artist Carly Schmitt in a show entitled Elevated Lines. Come out, enjoy the work and consider purchasing a piece for your collection. Wunderkammer Company hours are 1-9 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday.
by Heather Miller
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Art on Broadway — Tours of 5 downtown venues featuring art from Alexandra Hall, Julie Wall, Peter Lupkin, Daniel Dienelt, Knotodday, Kay Gregg, Terry Ratliff and St. Monci, 5 p.m. Saturday, March 25, Broadway Street, Fort Wayne, free, 417-5925
Beer, Bourbon, Bacon Festival — Unlimited beer sampling from national and regional craft breweries, fine bourbon sampling and bacon inspired treats, 6-9 p.m. Saturday, March 25 (5-9 p.m. VIP), Marquis and Three Rivers Ballrooms, Hotel Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, $35-$75, 484-0411
An Evening with Author Tom Frank — Author of What’s the Matter with Kansas talks about his new book; hors d’oeuvres, lecture and book signing included in admission, 6 p.m. Saturday, March 25, CS3 Hideaway, Fort Wayne, $15 plus donation, 602-1008
Puttin’ on the Ritz —Active 20-30 club fundraiser with live music from Chris Worth and Company, gourmet edibles, wine and beer, live and silent auctions; black tie optional, 7 p.m. Saturday, March 25, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, $50-$90, 450-2844
Shipshewana on the Road — Food, craft and primitives show and sale, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, March 25 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, March 26, Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, $4, 483-1111
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Big Dick and the Penetrators — Classic rock at Navy Club, Ship 245, New Haven, 7-11 p.m., no cover, 493-4044
Brat Pack — Rat Pack/variety at Nick's Martini & Wine Bar, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., no cover, 482-6425
Cougar Hunter — 80s glam rock at Vinnie's Bar, Decatur, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., $5, 729-2225
Ellsworth Sharp — Neofolk at Friendly Fox, Fort Wayne, 6:30-8:30 p.m., no cover, 745-3369
FBC Band w/Sheba — Variety/Music and Memories benefit at C2G Music Hall, Fort Wayne , 8 p.m., $7-$15, 426-6434
Fireball Matinee — Rock at Hideaway Lounge, Bluffton, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 824-0455
Fleshwounds — Rock at Hamilton House, Hamilton, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 488-3344
Fort Wayne Funk Orchestra — Funk at Dupont Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m., cover, 483-1311
Fu5ion — Variety at Mitchell's Sports Bar & Neighborhood Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., $3, (260) 387-5063
The Illegals — Rock at O'Sullivan's Italian Irish Pub, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 422-5896
Joe Stabelli — Jazz at Don Hall's Gas House, Fort Wayne, 5:45-9 p.m., no cover, 426-3411
John Curran & Renegade — Country at Alley Sports Bar, Pro Bowl West, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 483-4421
Johnny Freakin' Xcitor — Country rock at Beamer's Sports Grill, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m., no cover, 625-1002
Kat Bowser — Variety at Don Hall's Guesthouse, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 489-2524
The Orange Opera w/Mickyle James — Rock at Brass Rail, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., $5, 267-5303
Prime Suspects — Variety at American Legion Post 499, Fort Wayne, 8-11 p.m., no cover, 483-1368
Quincy and the Q-Tet feat. Phil Potts — Rock/variety at Downtown Eatery & Spirits, Warsaw, 10 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, (574) 267-6000
Second Nature — Pop at Crazy Pinz, Fort Wayne, 8-11 p.m., no cover, 490-2695
Shannon Persinger Quartet — Jazz/variety at Club Soda, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 426-3442
Todd Harrold & Nick Bobay Duo — R&B/blues/variety at American Legion Post 148, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., no cover, 423-4751
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Ambitious Blondes Karaoke — Variety at Office Tavern, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 478-5827
Beat Karaoke & DJ — Variety at American Legion Post 296, Fort Wayne, 8 p.m. , no cover, 456-2988
Bucca Karaoke w/Bucca — Variety at Tower Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-6310
Classic City Karaoke w/Bryan Lee — Karaoke at Corner Pocket Tavern, Fremont, 10 p.m., no cover, 495-9255
Classic City Karaoke w/Tobin — Karaoke at Toad's Tavern, Monroeville, 10 p.m., no cover, 623-6226
DJ Shawn — Karaoke/variety at Club Paradise, Angola, 10 p.m., no cover, 833-7082
Fort Wayne Karaoke — Karaoke at Latch String Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10:30 p.m., no cover, 483-5526
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Brian — Variety at AJ's Bar and Grill, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., , 434-1980
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Josh — Variety at Arena Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 557-1563
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/TJ — Variety at Chevvy's, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-4748
House DJ — Variety at Early Bird's Ultra Lounge, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., cover, 483-1979
House DJ — Variety at Flashback on the Landing, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., cover, 422-5292
Karaoke — Variety at Crooner's Karaoke Bar, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-3 a.m., no cover, 486-1979
Live DJ — Variety at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 485-1038
Shooting Star Prod. w/Barbie — Variety at Uncle Lou's Steel Mill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-5787
Shooting Star Prod. w/Stu — Variety at Pike's Pub, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 478-6200
Sidecar Gary's Karaoke & DJ — Karaoke at Kville Pub, Kendallville, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 348-1677
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The Children’s Hour — Lillian Hellman’s seminal drama about bigotry perpetuated against the LGBT community and how easily a lie can spread, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25, First Presbyterian Theater, Fort Wayne, $12-$20, 426-7421 ext. 121
Getting Sara Married — Comedy about an unmarried lawyer in need of a husband (according to her aunt), 7 p.m. dinner, 8 p.m. curtain, Saturday, March 25, Arena Dinner Theatre, Fort Wayne, $40 (includes dinner & show), 424-5622
One Foot in the Gravy — Howard Kingkade’s comedy and winner of Fort Wayne Civic Theatre’s Northeast Indiana Playwright Festival, 8 p.m. Saturday, March 25; 2 p.m. Sunday, March 26, Arts United Center, Fort Wayne, $10-$20, 422-4226
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22nd Annual Valentine’s Invitational — Works from local and national artists, Tuesday-Saturday and by appointment thru March 31, Castle Gallery Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 426-6568
2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards — Award-winning works from northern Indiana and northwest Ohio middle and high school students, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 9, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Afros: A Celebration of African Hair by Michael July — Contemporary photography exhibit by Brooklyn author/photographer, daily thru April 14, D’Agostino Art Gallery, Indiana Tech, Fort Wayne, 399-8626
An Artful Spring — Works by Gwen Gutwein, Patricia Weiss, Austin Cartwright and more, Tuesday-Saturday thru March 31, Crestwoods Frame Shop & Gallery, Roanoke, 672-2080
Decatur Sculpture Tour — 31 original sculptures and 15 permanent exhibits on display, walking tour maps available, thru April 1, Decatur, free, 724-2605
Echolilia — Works from Timothy Archibald and his autistic son, Eli, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Entropy — Daniel Swartz solo exhibition explores relationship between death and mourning through combinations of mythology, mathematics, multi-dimensional physics and pop culture, Monday-Saturday thru April 1, Jennifer Ford Art, Fort Wayne, 740-1309
Diane Allen Groenert — Exhibition of local artist’s Downtown Series and new works, Monday-Saturday thru June 24, West Central Microcreamery & Cafe, Fort Wayne, 415-9293
Expressions of Existence — An exhibition of works by artists through history, including Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Francisco Goya and others whose works have been influenced by disabilities, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Fort Wayne Artist Guild Exhibitions — Works by Alice Siefert at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Jennifer Caudel at Allen County Retinal Surgeons, Anita Trick, Citizens Square (2nd and 3rd floors), Darlene Selzer Miller at The Einhaus Group for Women’s Health, Patricia Weiss at Heritage of Fort Wayne, Emily Jane Butler at Ophthalmology Consultants (Southwest), Linda Binek at Ophthalmology Consultants (North), Carolyn Stachera at Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, John Kelty at ResCare Inc. Adult Day Service, Wiletta Blevins at Town House Retirement, Karen Bixler at Visiting Nurse Hospice and Barb Yoder and Karen Harvey at Will Jewelers, thru April 30, fortwayneartistguild.org.
Fort Wayne Photographers Club — Exhibition featuring local photographers, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 30, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne, $3-$5 (2 and under, free), 427-6440
Garden Party — Garden-themed works in a variety of mediums from over 30 local artists, Monday-Saturday thru March 31, Orchard Gallery of Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 436-0927
Generations: A View of Who Was Who — Works by Romare Bearden, Kara Walker, Alma Thomas, Jacob Lawrence and other African-American artists, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 9, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Glass: A Medium in Art and Automobiles — Dale Chihuly blown glass and fiberglass auto, daily thru Sept. 8, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Auburn, $7.50-$12.50, 925-1444
A Mary Poppins Garden Party — Child-oriented garden exhibit, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 1, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne, $3-$5 (2 and under, free), 427-6440
Moments in Time: Reflecting on the Human Spirit — Elizabeth Opalenik photographs from her recent Amish series A Journey Home and her Reflecting on the Edge exhibition, daily thru March 26, Visual Arts Gallery, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 481-6709
Outdoor Sculpture Invitational — Fifteen outdoor sculptures from regional artists, daily thru April 30, School of Creative Arts campus, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
RAW. Untamed. Unashamed. Visions of Freedom. — Abstract romanticist works in acrylics and epoxy from Kristy Jahn, Fridays and Saturday-Thursday by appointment thru March 25, The Gallery at Pranayoga, Fort Wayne, 423-9642
Sharon — An exhibition of Leon Borensztein photographs chronicling the struggles he faced raising his severely disabled daughter, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Wabash County Schools Exhibition — Works by high school art students, daily thru April 16, Clark Gallery, Honeywell Center, Wabash, 563-1102