Gali Lea Blay

Gali Blay graduated with honors from the Photography Department at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem last August. During her studies she curated two exhibitions with Jenna Hanson and participated in a group exhibition in Berlin. Gali started her creative journey when she was a young girl — drawing, sculpting, and even playing the harp. She has always been a multidisciplinary person, believing that learning from different creative mediums helps broaden the horizons and create new and meaningful things. Today Gali works for architecture and design companies, focusing on 3D imaging. She also works independently on projects combining art and design with pressing social issues.

1) What or who inspired you to want to be an artist?
I was born in NY. Both my parents are architects. I was raised to be a creative person; one of the main things I used to do as a child was to play with watercolors. However, I didn’t think I would become an artist. When I started my studies at the Photography Department of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, I wanted to be a fashion photographer. While studying, I was exposed to the art world of photography, and it was then that I realized that it interested me much more. Spending a long time living in Jerusalem affected me as well, and so it became clear to me that I wanted to pursue a career through which I could make a difference in our society. The art world is the most efficient way for me to do so.

2) What was your creative journey
that has brought you to where you are in your career today?
In my childhood, I have always attended art schools. I studied music, acting, and visual art. However, I remember that when I was 8, my dream was to become a veterinarian. I thought my goal in life would be to help animals. When I was 21, I travelled to South America for 9 months. It was then that I fell in love with photography and decided to focus on it. I’ve always looked to find that one thing in life which truly fascinated me, and at the time I thought photography was it. To my surprise, though, after one year of studies, I realized that it’s not only photography that appealed to me, but also sculpture, drawing, and design. After graduation, I found myself interested in creating art works that incorporate different mediums with no specific definitions. I wanted to touch upon social aspects, and to allow my life and surroundings affect and be part of my creative process.

3) What do you need as an artist today?
I need more freedom and time. The world is moving fast, much faster than it used to. For me, creating an art project which I feel is right takes a long time. I want to be able to create as many sketches as I need, so I can feel that I did everything I could to make it complete. The world is moving so fast that I often feel that if I took my time to make the sketches, I would  fall behind.

4) What creative project are you working on now?
My grandfather who died two years ago was a Holocaust survivor from Auschwitz. He came to Israel after the war in 1947 and met my grandmother. In 1948 he enlisted in the Israeli army and fought in the Israeli Independence War. About two months ago, my mother found letters that my grandfather had written to my grandmother when he went to war in 1948. I have always been interested in dealing with history in my art, and with the way we, as a society, preserve our history. I have recently started working on developing those letters into an animation film, and I’ve begun to design a space which deals with questions regarding the preservation of a society’s history.

5) Where do you see yourself and your career in 10 years?
I’m not sure where I will live, but I know that I will be a designer and an artist who seeks solutions to social problems through the world of design and art. Just as the consumption-driven industries constantly use graphic images and design techniques to sell products, I can use those skills and techniques in order to help society.

6) What does it mean to you to be an Israeli artist?
Israel is a very complex country. I believe that artists
have to create art that is related to the place they live in and to their history. As an artist who lives in a country with a constant political and social conflict, I want to try and work with the immediate high-stake issues. I believe that as an artist I have the freedom and the ability to increase the awareness of the situation and to make a difference. I feel obligated to take advantage of this privilege and so to try and create a better way of communication in Israel and the Middle East.

7) What does it mean to you to have an organization like AICF available in the art world?
I feel very lucky to be supported by the AICF. Other than the grants I’ve received, which helped me finish my Bachelor degree, I feel that I am a part of a family of artists, and I feel secure, that I am not alone. As a young artist just out of college, I feel particularly proud to be part of and associated with such an organization.

Gali Lea Blay