a)Hello Claudio, I'm Michael Gillette
a)I live in San Francisco, I have a studio at home. I moved to America from London back in 2001, San Francisco is a place I'm really grateful for.
q) How did you started? How have you realized you wanted to become an artist?
a) My mum was an art teacher so drawing was always in my life. I do remember entering a school art competition when I was 5 or 6, I did a picture of the moon with loads of spacemen on it, and I was called out in assembly in front of the school to show it. It won a £1 book token and I thought this is alright, I like this.
I did well academically at school, and university was on the cards, geography at Cambridge, or art history at Manchester. I knew however that I'd probably never graduate at either, I had no real interest. My parents were good enough to trust that instinct.so I went to art college with the pretense of being a graphic designer, (probably thinking in practical terms of earning a living, so 80's ) though really I wanted to be in a band. I thought, go to art college, form band, and then the rest of my life would roll out like a big red carpet. Over the course of my degree I realized that neither music nor graphic design were happening for me, but by the time I'd come to that conclusion I was in my final year and had learnt pretty much nothing. So I graduated, by default, as an illustrator.The week after I left college, I felt I'd better shake some action, I needed money of course. I had more knowledge of music than skill as an artist, and Saint Etienne were similar pop culture enthusiasts, so, I found their address on the back of a single, made them up a package of my work and hand posted it. They liked it and I did some work with them which started me rolling, I was lucky to pick the right band at the right time. I think they were charmed by my naivety. I was keen.
a)I don't have a favourite, the first 7 years out of college I painted solely in acrylic and I got really tired of working the same way continually, I'd sort of painted myself in to a corner. I barely even drew, I'd trapped myself in a media. One weekend, I had a real freak out and pretty much ceased painting in acrylic, turned down commissions and started working digitally. When I started using the computer I absolutely set out to try different things. The modus operandi was anything goes.with different media, new possibilities are presented. This week I did a piece in chalks which is something relatively new to me, and it brought a feel that had previously eluded me. I have recently also been painting a lot with watercolour. It's really important to me to keep mixing stuff up, learning, getting turned on. I'm not hooked on technical ecstasy, but I do appreciate a bit o' skill.
q) Do you rule by any tendency in your creative work, or you only follow what comes in your mind?
q) What haven’t you done yet that you definitely want to try someday?
q) Are there any contemporary artists that you love?
a)I really love Roger Andersson he's a swedish, I guess he's a deathmetal watercolourist, he's working in the vein of Durer's studies but his subject matter is troubled kids, weeds.... the margins. I like work that finds a deep beauty in seemingly ugly things. I think that is an amiable thing to do.
q) How long does it take for you to finish a piece?
a)It depends how I'm working. But generally no longer than a day or two.
a)I've always been a bit of mod, pretty much all my clothes are second hand, I'm not trying to look like it's feb 7th 1966, but San Francisco is a goldmine for really amazing quality used clothes. I avoid FASHION wherever possible, the whole disposable made in China aspect of it really disturbs me. I guess clothes are more about dignity at this point.
q) What are you doing when you are not creating?
a)As I do so much commissioned work, when I make work for myself I don't actually have to sell it. These pieces are really for my own mental well being, and I'm fairly attached to them. Now I have a really great print maker who will make editions of my work, and I find that works out a lot better, people get to own affordable pieces, and I get to keep the original. The shows I had in London, I'd be about £5,000 down on framing, advertising, booze.... I had to sell at those events and I gratefully sold a lot of work which I never even managed to have photographed. I regret that a little but it really pleases me that my work is hanging in peoples lives.
q) What new projects or exhibits are in your future?
q) What kind of projects/shows have you been involved in?