Like many university students, Gill sought out a new setting for an opportunity to grow as an art student. “I studied sculpture at Mount Allison University because I had grown up in Ottawa and needed to be in a new environment,” he says.
“I had no idea what to expect from a BFA program, but I knew that being creative excited me. I ended up majoring in sculpture and printmaking because they were both mediums that relied heavily on materials and processes: often it was not about what you ended up with, but how you got there that mattered most. I liked troubleshooting and figuring out how things could be put together. The qualities of materials fascinated me.”
In recent years, Gill has expanded his practice by integrating performance, video, photography and painting. For his 2009 work Cape Spear, he used a massive catapult to launch glowing orbs off the tip of North America’s easternmost point and into the ocean. The work was documented with photo and video.
He’s also often inspired by his adopted home of Newfoundland: his 2009 installation Bareneed is a replica of an old-fashioned bathtub that Gill saw on the ocean floor while sea-kayaking in the coastal community of Bareneed.
Overall, Gill appreciates the freedoms afforded by living in a collaborative, community-focused scene like that of St. John’s. In addition to working as an artist and having his own studio, he also has worked as a gallery installation technician at the Rooms, Newfoundland and Labrador’s provincial museum.
Gill also notes that success in the art world—whether you’re in a city large or small—is more a matter of character than of big-name credentials. “I found that perseverance was the most important thing after graduating. Finding ways to keep making work, and to be around other creative people, is vital as an artist.”
Compiled with files from Canadian Art‘s Winter 2012 and Fall 2010 editions.