By Anna Lynn Spitzer
12.05.05 – Gregory Gallardo, Calit2@UCI facilities manager, began painting in high school, but had shelved his hobby until a couple of years ago. Now Gallardo paints whenever he can find the time, has cataloged his portfolio online and hopes to paint professionally one day. He recently took another step toward his goal when one of his oil paintings won an honorable mention and was chosen for display in a major exhibit at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Ana, Calif. The exhibit, Unfinished Works, runs Dec. 1-11 and commemorates the worldwide fight against HIV/AIDS. Gallardo was one of 40 artists around the country whose work was recognized in the exhibit, sponsored by the AIDS Services Foundation Orange County .
Gallardo’s painting, Innervision: A Portrait of Kurt Weston, depicts an Orange County photographer afflicted by AIDS.
Gallardo met Weston after he was asked by a volunteer with the AIDS Services Foundation Orange County to consider entering a painting in the Unfinished Works competition. He began researching AIDS online and came across the photographer’s Web site. Weston invited Gallardo to his Huntington Beach home and the two bonded immediately. “We spent almost the entire day together,” the Calit2 employee says. “We had coffee and took pictures of each other.”
Gallardo used the photographs to paint a portrait of Weston that illustrates the subject’s tenacity and hope. Weston, who continues to ply his craft despite near blindness caused by AIDS, “was a real inspiration to me,” says Gallardo. “He believes there is more for him to do in this world.”
As for Gallardo, he continues to hone his skills and build his portfolio. “Somewhere down the line, I’d love to be painting full-time,” he says.