Artist Valerie Galloway gets in Valentine’s mood with tales of France, good perfume, and why maps have a special place in her heart. By Gillian Drummond
Early bird or night owl? “By rights I’m a night owl. I used to stay up really late and get up late. Now that I’m a mom, I’m an early bird by default. I go to bed by 10 o’clock and I’m up at 6. I need eight hours of sleep or I just can’t function. I guess I’m regimented enough to do what I need to do.
“I work from home, out of an Arizona Room, which is a real luxury. I lived in New York for years. Here, you can afford to have space. The studio is organized mess, but in the rest of the house I have to have it just so or I go crazy. [In the rest of the house] I’m a neat freak.”
Favorite accessory? “I don’t ever leave the house without wearing perfume and lipstick, these are the two things. My mother is French. I remember an aunt we would visit in France and it would always be a big deal, what perfume you were wearing and the quality of it. I have strong memories of my grandmother visiting once every year or two and when she opened her suitcase it always smelled strongly of certain perfumes. She used to wear Caleche by Hermes. Some of my favorite perfumes are those from the ’70s with similar citrusy fragrances, like O de Lancome and Cristalle by Chanel.”
Favorite faux pas? “I could go on and on about those but they seem to always be about sending the wrong text to the wrong person and then having to explain myself, or mistakes with the auto-correct function on my iPhone. I only got an iPhone last year and I’m not tech-savvy. I need my hand held.”
Who is your dream customer? “They’re all my dream customers. I love my customers. I have conversations with people and meet people because they bought my art.
“I try to have a lot of affordable art. I love working with maps, especially the really old maps from French dictionaries. I love to think about how many people before me used them for their studies, and upcycling them and giving them a second life or purpose.
“To me, maps evoke a variety of emotions – nostalgia, longing, excitement and sometimes even frustration. My father was in the Air Force, and we were forever moving. We moved every two or three years, and my family did some cross-country trips. Maps were always around on these trips of course, and it was exciting to find out where we were moving next.”
If I weren’t an artist I would… “I would be a French teacher because I love the French language so much. We speak a little bit at home, just little phrases.”
If I could change one thing I would… “The broadest answer would be to see nobody having to suffer. I would try to put more good in the world.”