People, Places and Things
With Gala Tomasso

‘Creativity has always been an escape and a way to express things that words cannot touch’ – Gala

Scotland born Gala Tomasso is a multidisciplinary artist and illustrator based in Galway. She studied at The Burren college of Art, DIT, MTU Cork, and Worcester university specialising in Art and Design, Arts Facilitation and drawing. Themes of a childhood on a housing estate and feelings of crisis influence much of Gala’s personal creativity. Gala is probably most well known for her work ‘Creative Real Estate’ or her illustrations created for Coffee Werk and Press. She also creates children’s book illustrations, business illustration, pet illustration, and does a lot of digital drawing but essentially her approach is traditional. 

Describe yourself in three words:

Empathetic, Indépendant, hermit,

What is something our readers might not know about you?

I am probably one of the best artists at rejection. I’ve had more ‘No’s’ than hot dinners but part of that is my struggle with words. It’s so crazy to me that I’m doing my second masters (my third post grad) and yet words just move around the page for me. I did a whole masters in Professional Design Practice without reading one single book, thank gawd for audio books nowadays! I’m an artist, not a writer and I’m totally useless at funding applications. Oh, and I recently did a small animation called The Port Seal commissioned by Brent O’Caiside for a festival of storytelling in finland!

What is your proudest accomplishment?

I’m proud of my strange and winding life story and all the things I have come through. I’ve been so lucky. When I was much younger I struggled to see myself as I am now. I desperately wanted to study but the finances just weren’t there, so when I look back and see how hard I worked (and partied tbh) I’m grateful to be exactly where I am now. It’s hard being young and strange, but there is hope and I am living proof of that.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

I think I am incredibly lucky to have a smart, creative and academic younger sister who probably has a more mature outlook on life sometimes and she has helped me in so many ways. I’m so proud of her accomplishments and wish she knew just how brilliant she is. I can rely on her for many things but in this context she advises me creatively and I probably wouldn’t listen to anyone else.

Tell us something you love about Galway:

I came to county Galway as a child really and didn’t land in the city until my twenties, it was then I hit the social scene quite hard. I made such good friends and was lucky enough to hang out with Johnny Massacre and all the street performers and artists. At that time I was a tad lost in myself but to this day I still talk to Johnny even though he is gone for many years. Now as a sober person my favourite things are good coffee, vegan treats and second hand shops. Galway influenced me so heavily in my creative life by making the impossible in my mind…possible. I’ve had jobs with Babóro, Brú Theatre, Ard Bia, Coffee Werk and Press, Galway Food Tours, The Town Hall Theatre, NUIG and many Galway based heads have commissioned my work which blows my mind – I’m always so delighted to be asked.

Gala is currently establishing with ASD consultant Diarmuid Heffernan, creating and running workshops in drawing and creativity for autistic children and adults.