Interview: Gillian Collins
Luca Curci talks with Gillian Collins during CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2021 – 9TH EDITION and during VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2021 – 14TH EDITION, at Misericordia Archives.
Gillian Collins was born in England but has lived in the United States for most of her life. She has been painting for over three decades while raising a family and co-owning a nationally franchised, heating, air conditioning and plumbing company. Her initial degree was in computer science and accounting, but her painting passion led her back to college. In 2019 at the age of 63, she earned her Master of Fine Arts degree from Towson University, MD. As a graduate student, she found her voice in painting mechanical components, having been surrounded by mechanical equipment for years. “Don’t Categorize Me” began as a mechanical painting of geometric shapes. It quickly became a painting that took on a life on its own. Gillian felt compelled to complete this painting as you see it, inspired by her environment of much younger grad students who were coming to terms with their individuality, their gender and/or race.
Luca Curci – What’s your background?
Gillian Collins – I was born in England but have lived in the United States for most of my life. I’ve been painting for over three decades while raising a family and co-owning a nationally franchised, heating, air conditioning and plumbing company.
LC – What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
GC – In 2019 at the age of 63, I earned my Master of Fine Arts degree from Towson University, MD. As a graduate student, I found my artistic voice in painting mechanical components, having been surrounded by mechanical equipment for years.
LC – What are your thoughts while you paint?
GC – I’m a technical person, a more ‘how to’: how to push myself beyond my comfort zone; how to make mechanical components appealing in a painting.
LC – Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
GC – Not really, probably just like all other painters.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
GC – I look for the seen but the unseen, mechanical components found in everyone’s life.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
GC – Yes, mechanical components. I paint them realistically and abstractly. My painting titled “Don’t Categorize Me” began as a mechanical component painting of geometric forms but as I proceeded with the painting, it took on a life of its own.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
GC – Artists today have a multitude of resources available to promote their works, we have more materials to work with and a huge opportunity for diversity.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
GC – The concept of this exhibit is very prevalent in today’s times.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
GC – I felt compelled to complete this painting as you see it, inspired by my university graduate studies’ environment, surrounded by much younger graduate students who were coming to terms with their individuality, their gender and/or race.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists? Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
GC – ITSLIQUID GROUP is an excellent opportunity for artists. I would strongly suggest that the ITSLIQUID GROUP representative reach out to colleges and universities to explain to upcoming artists that marketing is a necessity to get their artwork out in front of the public. Many of my professors told me not to pay to have my work exhibited. As a businesswoman, I know that marketing is a must. Even to apply to a juried show costs $25 to $50 with no guarantee that your work will be accepted. Fortunately, I have the budget for such marketing from the sale of copies that I have created at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and selling my original works. At Towson University, graduate students could apply for a $600 grant each semester to spend on materials. Monies are available for exhibitions if the granting process was modified, not sure about other schools.