When did you start making street art? What was it that got you started?
I began making street art because I was frustrated with the second Bush administration and no one wanted to talk about it. My only other means of expressing myself besides conversation was visually. I believed then, as I do today, that creating dialog with the public about ideas and issues that most people want to sweep under the rug is a true form of dissidence and necessary means to create the change I find is imperative for a healthy society.
Is there any significance to your name -Gilf?
gilf! is defiance, it’s privacy, it’s humor, it’s child’s play. It’s a word that represents a quintessential moment in my childhood when I was free from restraints to create and be fully true to myself.
What type of art do you do? What types of tools do you use? Where can your pieces be seen? Walls, installation, sidewalk etc?
I create large scale installations outside, paintings, sculptures, and performance art. I love power tools, spray paint, and concept specific materials. You’ll find my artwork in SF in bus shelters around the city. I do murals on occasion, but I’m more interested in the element of surprise, ephemerality, and direct action.
Is there a specific message you are trying to get across?
I challenge the status quo, the mundane, the uninspired. I feel that the American public is quite complacent so I create artwork to upend the apathy and comfort of the herd mentality.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Social just issues, environmental concerns, or political topics are what drive my discussions. From a problem comes a solution that typically will develop through materials that I find relate to the discussion.
Do you ever collaborate or work on the street with other artists?
I do collaborate. A good collaborator is hard to come by, but I have been lucky to work with other like-minded people that are also pushing for that tipping point, that moment where people wake up and we all grow together.
Can your street art can be found outside NYC? Do you travel to do art or do art when you are traveling?
I am always working. Traveling is a great source of inspiration for me. Understanding different cultures, even throughout the US gives me so much food for thought. San Francisco is a fascinating city- I think the gentrification challenges happening there are really complex and I spent a great deal of my time there recently trying to wrap my head around how it could be done differently. I am so fascinated by the Muni bus stop situation and how the privatized bus lines have really manipulated the housing markets in those neighborhoods.
What art/artist/environment influenced you in formative years? Are there any now?
Swoon and Banksy were the big pushes in the beginning. Now I look to Do Ho Suh, Ai Wei Wei, Vic Muniz, and Christo to think big, and to destroy any box I could possibly build around myself.
Do you have an art and design background? If so can you elaborate a bit and tell us if art is your full time occupation or an outlet?
I originally went to school to study automotive design, and mechanical engineering. Math could not contain my divergent brain, so I dropped it all and took an art class to fill my schedule. I never looked back after that. I spent most of college focusing on graphic & furniture design. I’ve worked as an interior designer and furniture maker but now I focus solely on visual art. I’m so grateful that I can sustain myself by making art.
You currently are participating in a group show titled “Distortion” with 6 other New York based artists at Luna Rienne Galley on 22nd Street at Valencia in San Francisco? Can you tell us about the art you are showing ?
So Distortion is curated by Evan Venegas- a native to the Bay Area who has been in New York for a few years. The work that I have included there at first glance look like crazy mazes that make your eyes dance. Upon closer inspection the viewer may decipher letters or ultimately words or phrases within the lines. These works discuss encryption in a world, especially in San Francisco, where we are fully surveilled by the NSA, every email read, every digital correspondence saved. The titles relate to a recent revelation by Edward Snowden about England’s spy operation called JTRIG and its dastardly invasive programs that manipulate our Facebook feeds, online polls, and collect our data. They’re fun visual challenges, something I always imbed in my work. I like to reward the viewer for looking deeper, for challenging herself.
Check out the show
Learn more about Luna Rienne Galley
Luna Rienne Gallery
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