Berry Artist of the Week – TERRY GILLAM

How long have you been an artist?

I have been painting portraits for two years. I never had any art lessons and didn’t study art at school. I was too busy smoking in the toilets! But hey that was Primary School!

How did you get involved?

I have always thought of myself as artistic. I have invented things both out of necessity and for pure indulgence my whole life. Starting painting was a bit of an accident. 2 years ago, I was feeling bored at home while on a Christmas break. I jumped in the pool, got out and without drying myself, stood at the easel and started to paint Norm Porter, my very first portrait.

Have you entered any competitions or exhibitions? If so which ones?

I am very excited about two exhibitions I have coming up this year. I live on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland surrounded by some great people who are willing to support local artists. My very first exhibition is coming up next month in March at the Hi Tide Bar & Grill in Mudjimba, a great beach barn up the road from my studio. I will have about 10-15 portraits on show. On the 2nd May, I will be exhibiting at The Old Ambulance Station in Nambour. I will also be painting there for a few days of the first week. Visitors can come and see my style.

What do you love about art? Who/what are your influences?

The man of the moment is Ahn Do. He has brought portraiture art into living rooms around the nation, and for that he should be congratulated, and of course he is an influence. On a recent trip to the National portrait gallery in Canberra I had a chance to gain inspiration from some great artists. Clifton Pugh’s work struck a chord in me. His ability to achieve a likeness yet still pursue his comedic undertones. I love Percival’s colourful works and Picasso’s one-dimensional cubism during his feud with Matisse. I could go on .. the bottom line is I’m impressed and influenced by anyone who can paint something that is easy on the eye.

How would you describe your style?

I would describe my style as being multi -influenced. I can paint using dots and a small brush or confident strokes with a bigger brush if I am feeling confident.

What are some of your favourite personal works?

My favourites are Bob Hawke Smoking his cigar. Gough Whitlam in black & white.

See link to portfolio here

What is your creative process?

I work from photos; I don’t work live as I find it too difficult to paint people when they are moving. I take about 50 photos for an accurate sketch on my canvas, then start painting from the lighter shades and move to dark. I have a mantra that I repeat to myself when I paint. “paint what you see,” so if there is a pimple or a wrinkle or the light falls in a certain way, “paint what you see”. Once I’m happy that I have the likeness I relax a bit and try and have fun with the process. The paint gets a little heavier and the tones get a bit darker. Once I stand back to look at my work and consider. “that’s done” I live with my paintings for a while, look at them in different light, at different angles and at different times of the day. If I remain happy with the painting and enjoy being around them, only then do I consider them complete.

What are your goals?

My goal is to be the best artist I can be. I truly love producing my work on any surface. I would like to attract some commissions by producing quirky portraits that bounce off the canvas. Everybody that comes through my studio picks different paintings as their personal favourites. I must say the political characters are popular. Politics has been described show biz for ugly people. Politicians like Hawke, Keating, Howard and Whitlam .. are gifts that keep on giving. I am currently working on a series of black and whites featuring Charlie Chaplin. Stay Tuned.


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