Gino can you tell me what kind of art you do?
My real love is drawing with pencils. Even from the time I was really small I loved to draw detailed drawings of things like cutaway views of mountainsides with mines inside, the inside of submarines and boats and things. I've always been very drawn to detail. I did some oil painting.
Lately though I've been into acrylics because I have more of a sense of urgency to continue with paintings or to get paintings done. I don’t want to wait for the oil to dry. I want to paint now and stare at it ten minutes later and go over the top of what I've done.
Why do you create art?
It’s more of an expression these days than it was when I was younger. When I was younger I was just fascinated that I could draw and create. As far as being creative goes it was hard to focus on just one thing. I was in symphony band and I was in sports I took home ec. I loved to cook and sew. Which led me to pursue being a professional chef for ten years because that was creative to me. So it was more the creative aspect I think than the expression aspect.
These days though it’s becoming more expressionistic because I feel not just an urgency with my artwork but I feel it needs to have more of a message.
How do you bring a message to your art?
I've always been fascinated with the American bison. I still struggle to do what I would consider my ultimate picture of the bison. We have this glamorous idea of it and it was just oh look, the buffalo! but we slaughtered the shit out of it. We just slaughtered the hell out of it. So my first painting of it was that. There are a zillion paintings of Indians shooting buffalos and cowboys or cavalry and whatever but they are kind of in a glorious way like old war paintings.
So I just wanted this one to be stark. I wanted the words American Bison to be faded because they are faded. Their glory is faded.
Do you have sources of inspiration?
I think what happens is we get in a rut and that’s depressing because you want to create, you need to create and nothing is coming through. Sometimes I'll go for long walks, I walk a lot. If I have anxiety, or just can’t be creative, sitting here isn’t helping me at all. The bookstore is open sometimes I'll go up there and I'll look through art magazines and books or just walk around. I go to the Abend gallery. Sometimes I go in there and it’s not necessarily inspiring it’s overwhelming and I'm like, oh my god. But I try to be inspired most of the time.
How does it feel to share your art?
I'm overwhelmed every time somebody thinks anything I made is neat. Whatever it is, if people enjoy it and it makes them stop for a minute and look then I feel good inside. Because I don’t do anything that should make anybody feel bad. If anything I might paint something that might make you wonder or make you feel something but not necessarily bad.
Like the buffalo pictures aren’t meant to make you feel bad but are meant to make you feel… That it’s not all glorious what happens.
When do you create?
It’s whenever I have time and I'm feeling it. Sometimes I'll be careful like if I have to be at work at 5 in the morning I may not paint at night because I might get lost and next thing I know it’s two or three in the morning and I'm like, oh no. And not a big deal you know I try to take all that with ease as well because for a lot of my life I worked very hard.
Why do we need art?
If we get rid of clothes… Clothes don’t make the man, no they do not. But clothes give us an avenue to express ourselves just like painting or drawing or photography or food or the things we like to eat or the things we like to look at. I think when you get rid of all that then we become a different society, a closed society.
Does art bring you closer to other people or does it make you feel isolated?
I can be introverted so it gives me time to create and be by myself. But it also gives me an avenue to connect with a lot of people. And it’s always done that, you create art, it connects you with other people, if you let it. Sometimes it can be hard to be introverted because that feels selfish to me.
Not just not sharing my art but not sharing myself and who I am. I'm pretty happy with my self and I can hang out with my self a lot and I think there’s times when I have to make myself be out there.
How much time do you spend on a project?
It just depends on how enthralled I am with a project and I usually am. It’s like reading a book. For me if a book doesn’t grab me right away I'm probably not going to read it. If I like a book then I need to read it until I'm done. Like I need to come home from work so I can sit down and keep reading my book you know?
And I have issues with that sometimes because with all the things I like to do I never want to feel like I'm wasting time. ‘Cause when I'm sitting here relaxing in my American Dream I'm really thinking about the rest of the people in the world and I'm like God, I need to get out and do something. If I'm going to spend a lot of my life creating art I think it should have an impact as well.
What does success mean to you?
For me success is if you’re a good human being and you help others and you’re not a detriment to society and you’re responsible for whatever you’re responsible for. If you can sit with yourself. I don’t mean for five minutes. I mean for hours or a day.
Then I think for me that’s success. And to be available whenever somebody needs me. That’s one reason I try to take care of myself physically, because I want to be there, not just now, as long as I can be there. I think we have a responsibility when we create relationships. And I know we fade from them fast.
We move away and we quit communicating as much so I work hard at that and in order to do that I need to be mentally and physically okay. I have two adult children that I feel a responsibility to be there for them. I think that’s important and if I can do those things I'll be successful.
And I won’t even mention the word money because that has nothing to do with it. I think there is a small percentage of our society that would love for us to just be focused on the money because then they could control things a lot better.
How’s the health of your imagination?
I don’t feel any different inside imagination wise than I did when I was eight years old. I still have that same feeling. I still have that same sense when I try to imagine things.
I've obviously grown up as far as a sense of responsibility with things, having a job and paying bills and being a part of society and a responsible member of society and whatnot. But as far as everything else goes, I don’t think I've progressed much past being a kid.
Is beauty relevant?
I think beauty is always relevant. Whatever that means for you. Beauty to me is anything that makes me smile, makes me feel good, anything that makes me happy but without having to think about it. I'll just make it simple, like, if I see you or I hear you, like if I'm working and all of a sudden there you are. To me that’s beautiful, that’s instant happiness. It makes me smile. The minute I see you I think of good things I don’t think of anything bad because you have that beauty and to me that’s beautiful.
My two children are beautiful to me. Friendships are beautiful to me. And I don’t use the word lightly but I just think some things are just beautiful. I think we take it for granted. Or we use it in a wrong manner. You’re a beautiful woman, physically but when I'm talking beauty is when I hear or see you, my emotion level rises, my happy level rises. You can’t buy that. You just have to relish it when it’s there.