Trey Gallaher

Trey Gallaher

Critiques and group discussion are where students stand to benefit the most. Trey Gallaher , Instructor , The Art Institute of California—San Francisco, a campus of Argosy University

What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

From a young age, I knew I wanted to be an artist of some sort.  When I took my first art history class in college I saw the work of Artemisia Gentileschi and knew what I was destined to do.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

Whenever possible, I try to use samples of my own work or an anecdote from my professional experience to set the tone and create a picture of the industry practice and standard.  I have always been a hands-on type of teacher. I try to show, not tell, and demonstrate the skills and steps required to achieve a higher standard.

Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits

In my character design classes, I give an assignment where students explore abstract visual concepts through thumbnail sketching and silhouette refinement. I begin by showing them how to get started, what methods and tools to use, and set them to work. Through their own exploration and work they find a spark of originality and an idea that sets the direction for further development.  They are often surprised by their own discoveries and in finding something unique and special in their own working process. This is the heart of what I do. I teach process for image creation and visual problem solving thereby unlocking my student’s potential.

What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

One of the many rewards of attending a traditional brick and mortal college in the modern age is the collaboration and feedback you get from an on-ground experience that generates and fosters professional working relationships.  By having a diverse student body with a variety of design concentrations, students are exposed to neighboring disciplines often working together on projects exchanging ideas and both giving and receiving feedback.  Critiques and group discussion are where students stand to benefit the most.  Students find themselves surrounded by other creative individuals attempting to solve similar types of design problems.  Through this exchange and collaboration, they make connections and form lasting bonds that carry on after their college life and into the professional work place.

In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

Work ethic and accountability are the two biggest requirements to becoming a professional.  Taking personal responsibility for the development, execution and on-time delivery of the highest-grade work possible is the sign of a student that is ready for the industry.  When students enter The Art Institute, it begins with their passion and talent.  Our job as faculty is to guide that passion and talent through challenging course work and instruction that will better prepare them for the demanding industry standard. A strong work ethic and accountability are the promise each student must make to themselves in order to achieve success.

Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you, your experience, or your role as a faculty member at The Art Institutes?

For over thirteen years at Ai I have been continually amazed by the high caliber of work our students achieve.  I have a strong respect for the discipline it takes for students to stay focused on their goals in this busy and challenging age. I applaud and consider it a privilege to stand behind them in their dedication to their own passion, talent and decision to make their dreams a reality.