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abstract painter Bill Gingles

::: bio/statement
::: abstract paintings
::: artist interview


"My paintings are also very much about being paintings. They are very tactile. I love paint and what paint does."
Bill Gingles


American abstract artist American Abstract Artist


abstract artist


Bill Gingles Artist Interview - January 2006



+1 ::: Why are you an artist Bill?

I don't know: I've just always been one. From a very early age, I've been tuned in to colors, materials and shapes. At age 3 or 4, I got out of the car late one hot summer afternoon after having gone somewhere with my parents. The lawn had lost its color to the summer heat. There in the dried blades of grass were some melted crayons. I stopped and knew, with absolute certainty, "That's how they make paint!" This was at least two years before I painted for the first time. Later, in first or second grade I remember being struck by how well brown and blue went together, like some kind of chromatic chord. I remember drawing old sailing ships with crayons in the second grade. They had a profusion of flags hanging from several lines. Looking back, I understand that the flags gave me some kind of excuse to make miniature hard edged abstract compositions. The whole reason for drawing the boat in the first place was to create the opportunity to design new flags. The me that had those early experiences is the same me that goes into my studio at age 47.

+2 ::: Could you tell us some more about your paintings?

At its core, my work is about the duality of existence: positive/negative, male/female, physical/spiritual and the dynamics that occur when they converge or mix like the spirituality of sex or the effects of time on people and things. Yet it's the unexpected that I find most compelling about painting. Not just a simple surprise but the fact that I can surprise myself, like one does in having dreams.

+3 ::: Is there any symbolic meaning or messages in your paintings, or are they mostly about paint and creating a painting?

There are often images or partial images and numbers in my paintings and drawings. Although they are quite important to me, they aren't presented in such a way that one could "connect the dots" and get a coherent message. Symbols are much more potent when their meanings remain somewhat obscured or unclear. I mean for any symbols I use to serve the painting rather than have the painting communicate a message through symbols. My paintings are also very much about being paintings. They are very tactile. I love paint and what paint does. I think that comes across in my work.

+4 ::: What artists have influenced you, and how?

Tapies, Twombly and Rauschenberg were strong influences early on. I found Tapies and Rauschenberg's unorthodox use of materials compelling. I was frequently drawn to Twombly's potent scribbling. Now, I can be just as easily influenced by the walls of a dilapidated building as I can by the work of other artists. My two tours in Italy profoundly impressed me.

+5 ::: What other interests do you have (besides painting)?

Teaching art, reading, old movies, working in my yard and cooking.

+6 ::: What inspires you to paint and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

Painting for me has always been more of a compulsion than anything else. I have a strong need to do it. Only I can make these paintings that come from me and those are the ones I most need to see. Sometimes it's fun or even ecstatic but I'm well acquainted with frustration in the studio. Almost without exception, such times are about issues of fidelity and clarity such as: Is this what I mean to paint? Do I want this mark or drip to do exactly that? Is this the right thing to do here, this shape, this color, this weight, etc? What does the painting want me to do next? It's the joy of seeing a new painting in full splendor that really drives me because at those moments, I realize all over again that I really am a painter of substance. And ultimately that's all that really matters.

+7 ::: How have you handled the business side of being an artist?

Not as well as I should have! But I've gotten a lot better in the last few years. I still find it somewhat loathsome but I've learned that continued success outside the studio is only going to happen to the degree that I help make it happen. This means attention to business details following through on things. And though I am devoting more of my time to the business side of art these days, I still feel that finding it a little distasteful is quite alright. If I really enjoyed it, I doubt I'd be the kind of artist I am. After all, being an artist means making art, not turning out a product. Still, I've come to realize that devoting the necessary time and energy to the business side of art is a way of respecting what I do in the studio.

+8 ::: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Physically, I love where I live and don't see a change. I know my work will continue to grow and evolve even as I do. As for my career, 10 years on will find my work in more prominent collections.

+9 ::: Could you talk about your latest series of paintings and what you are trying to achieve with them?

Since 2000, I've been working on paintings that have thick, sometimes rough surfaces that are often scarred or gouged. Though on canvas, they end up feeling like stone walls. This makes for a more compelling physical presence. Over the last year or two, I've become even more enamored of controlled drips and runs. Also, my bed is appearing more frequently in my most recent work as a partial image. It's an intriguing development.

+10 ::: What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Fidelity to your self, inside the studio and out, is the most important thing to an artist.



More artist information can be found at the website of the artist.. Bill Gingles
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