Joining us for his first release, we welcome in California-based artist Jeff Gillette, who brings us his very first image in his iconic series re-imagining Banksy’s recent Dismaland with his Abandoned Dismaland. Painted directly after the opening of Banksy’s massive Dismaland, the original painting took Gillette about six weeks to complete with tons of minute details hidden throughout this intricate piece. Read on as Gilette gives us the story behind his debut release and much more . . .
1xRUN: Tell us a little bit about this piece, anything immediate you would like us to highlight about this image?
Jeff Gillette: This piece was painted after returning from Dismaland. I imagined what it would look like if had been left to the elements. After I shared this info on FB I was surprised that Banksy decided to donate all the building materials to Calais’ refugee camp. I made a painting of that too, and also one of a refugee camp/slum in London…
1x: What materials were used to create this original piece and when was it created?
Gillette: This piece was created in late 2015, I spent about 6 weeks on it. It was created using acrylic and collage, including copies of Dismaland paraphernalia, and collage from Disney and other children’s books.
1x: What is unique about this piece compared with your other work?
Gillette: It was my first piece based on Dismaland. I’ve done others since…
1x: Why should people buy this one of these prints?
Gillette: Lots of fun details in an iconographic image of the demise/dismantling of Banksy’s Dismaland.
1x: Describe this image in one gut reaction word.
1x: When did you first start making art? What was your first piece?
Gillette: Kindergarten, kept up with it since. In first grade there was another kid that was better at art than I, so I became competitive at a very early age… The first piece I sold was a painting I made in High School Art Class in 1978, and the school bought it for the library. It was of a wide, dark blood red sky hovering over the ruins of a large city with the Statue of Liberty in the background. Critics (other students) said I ripped off the idea from the last scene of the original “Planet of the Apes…”
1x: What artists inspired you early on? What artists inspire you now?
Gillette: The first artists I admired were underground cartoonists: Robert Crumb, Robert Williams, Art Spiegleman (my favorite with his experimental collage techniques). They inspired me to do obscure comics for years, until I moved on to painting in my early 30s. [Currently] any well done Representational Art with a peculiar subject matter I love. I’m sick to death of minimalism and abstract art (modernism has had its day…). I love the great Abstract Expressionists, and even the first Minimalists, but feel it has run its course and see this kind of work 70 years later as merely decoration, even if it is beautiful.
1x: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what? If not then what is your environment like when you work?
Gillette: I mostly listen to the 100+ cassette tapes I made in the 80s and 90s filled with unlabeled music I taped from obscure radio stations (College Radio in Detroit and later Irvine, as well as Canadian Broadcasts from the wee hours of the morning.) My tastes now lean towards Ambient or Shoe-Gaze/trippy, layered music. I crank the big stereos I have in my house studio and even louder in the garage (especially to combat disrespectful, noisy fucking neighbors…)
1x: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why?
Gillette: I’d like to collaborate with Banksy. I even asked once after Dismaland, but his manager said ‘he was too busy….’ I’m not sure he ever got the request…
1x: If you could collaborate with any deceased artists who would it be and why?
Gillette: I want to know what Van Gogh’s fucking problem really was…. And how to channel adversity into inspiration. I’d do this only if Theo threw me a couple Francs, too…..
1x: What was the last piece of art that you bought?
Gillette: I don’t buy art that often. The last piece I bought was a skateboard with a painting of a circus performer juggling kittens and chainsaws.
1x: Any big shows or events coming up that you’d like to share?
Gillette: Fall 2018 or Spring 2019 I will be showing again at Copro Gallery in Santa Monica. In Late November / Early December, there will be an article on me in the French/English Periodical: Graffiti Art