“My name is Ajay (AJ) Gallardo, I was born and raised in and around the Seattle area! Being the first born to a young single mother, I had a lot of time spent to myself. I used this time watching cartoons, playing video games, and playing sports. My mom had always been into drawing and painting during her free times and I think that’s where I was initially influenced. Growing up, I had always been into creating these cartoon characters at home and especially during class. Much of my original inspiration comes from early nickelodeon cartoons, such as Fairly Oddparents and Spongebob. I also took a lot of inspiration from classic Disney cartoons and Studio Ghibili films.
Today, I grab most of my inspiration from my favorite artists, Takashi Murakami and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I also take lots of inspiration from music. Music is such a big part of my day-to-day life, ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you how much music means to me. I listen to music of all kinds, to get an idea of what I mainly listen to, my daily listening usually consists of: Smashing Pumpkins, 070 Shake, and Aries. If you take a look at any of my art, you’ll notice my use of colors. Growing up in a city as dull as Seattle, I had an infatuation with the use of colors and how to manipulate combinations and mixtures of colors to get a strong emotion or message across in my art. If I were to explain my style, I would say that I create cartoon inspired characters that represent or influence a particular mood or message that is relevant to the viewer.
COVID-19, similar to almost everyone, has had a tremendous impact on my life. COVID sent me home from Bozeman, MT, where I was living and attending school. Instead of focusing on the inevitable negatives of this pandemic, I’ll focus on the positive aspects of the past year. Spending the last almost year in quarantine has impacted me similar to a lot of people. While in quarantine, I started to create much of my art again and had attempted many different art styles. Because of this, I had met many many people that I am extremely grateful to have met. From other artists on Instagram and Twitter, to many local artists in the Seattle area, I have made many meaningful connections.
My favorite piece is always my last. When going to make a new piece of art, I always go into it with the mindset of getting better from the last piece. If I don’t believe it was better than the last, nobody will see it.
In 10 years, I hope to be happy with my work, and having a positive influence over the people who are there to see what I’ve created. I hope to be creating clothing people would love to wear, painting murals across the globe, and just keeping a smile on my viewers’ faces.I don’t want to tell too much and put too much pressure on myself, but right now I’m actively looking to get my first solo mural somewhere in my hometown, Seattle. I also plan to put a website up, where people can purchase prints, stickers, and more!”
Check Ajay out @fizztwizzle on instagram!