Bill Gingles – Artist Interview

What made you decide to produce art or become an artist?

I never decided to be an artist: I just am.  As a teen growing up, there was always a kind of hollowness with any vocation I considered as a career choice other than that of an artist. A lot of these considerations were encouraged by my father who was viscerally opposed to me being an artist. But by the time I went off to college, the decision had been made to major in art. It was the only choice that rang true.

And producing art, while it feels like a decision, is really more a matter of compliance with who and what I am. I think in order to be true to myself and remain mentally and emotionally healthy, I must make art.

Wish Pond, 48″ x 60″

How does the creative process work for you on a daily basis?

I usually have four to six paintings going on at any given time. And work on a painting can go on for months. I never know how a painting is going to turn out except that, however it turns out, it must feel true. I’ve learned over the years that if I make authenticity my priority in painting, everything else kind of falls into place. 

The first thing I usually do is partition the canvas into several rectangular shapes of different sizes.  I view these spaces like multiple theaters or arenas in which disparate activities go on independently. As the painting progresses, I work to bring these different areas together into a new, more complex and harmonious whole.

What has influenced or inspired you most?

I’ve been influenced my many things- alchemy; ideas and concepts of consciousness; the duality of existence; artists such as Tapies, Innes, Diebenkorn, Twombly,  Rauschenberg and Richter among others; music from classic rock to Rachmaninoff; writers such as Herman Hesse, Joseph Campbell, Alan Watts, Emily Bronte, John Fowles, and Deepak Chopra; poets as varied as Rumi, Robert Bly, Richard Brautigan and Sylvia Plath. I also feel affected by ideas in science documentaries on topics from particle physics to stellar evolution.

Twelfth Spring, 40″ x 50″


Which medium do you favor and why?

I work in acrylics, having switched from oils after my first semester in college. When I know what I want to do in a painting, I want to do it now, and I want it to dry rather quickly so I can move on.

Please comment on the subject, content or significance of your images.

I am the subject of my work and as such every painting I do is something of a self portrait. And by “I”, I mean the self that is actually working on the painting as well as the larger collective self to which we all belong.  The variously sized, usually more or less rectangular fields with disparate activities brought into a larger more complex harmony within the single larger field of the picture plane is a visual metaphor of this. There seems no end to the ways this can be presented in my paintings.

Additionally, my paintings are about the process of painting itself and the alchemical exploration of the dynamic mix of paint and my being.

Hard Rain, 36″ x 48″

What have been the highlights of your career?

That question first calls to mind certain paintings I’ve done that seemed perhaps more important than others but I suppose that is not what is being asked! So I’d say recent highlights include a retrospective exhibition of my work at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA (Pieces From Thirty Years); a painting of mine becoming part of the permanent collection of the Butler Institute; and two group invitational exhibitions in Italy.

More artwork and information about Bill Gingles.

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