INTERVIEW – South Australian Artist – Josh Gillies
Artist Profile – Josh Gillies
Josh’s work is absolutely beautiful. From digital art, to very realistic portraits, it seems as though this young artist just loves to draw and create. The definition and detail in is work is certainly admirable, with one of his works taking over 100 hours to complete. It is this dedication that has lead Josh to produce an astounding portfolio of work, so below is our quick Q&A with Josh about his inspirations and what responses he’s gotten from his work.
How long have you lived in South Australia for?
I’ve lived in South Australia for almost my entire life. There were a few years when we (my family and I) lived in Western Australia.
When did you start drawing?
I started drawing when I could hold a pencil or stick of chalk. I would’ve only been a toddler, maybe three or four years old at the time.
What medium do you use?
For my artwork, I use pencils, pens, and Paintshop Pro with a mouse for digital pieces. I’m fairly flexible, but I’ve never really used paint or graphics tablets, or anything like that.
Who/what inspired you to start drawing?
I have fond memories of drawing dinosaurs with my dad at a very early age, but I was encouraged by my entire family to draw. It’s hard to say what first inspired it, and it probably continues for a wide variety of reasons. It’s safe to say that I started with dinosaurs. It was all I used to draw!
Where’s your favourite place to relax and soak up some creative inspiration?
I prefer environments over places. I create my own environment mainly using music and familiar things. I listen to orchestrated music, anything from baroque to romantic period, including classical. The absence of hard metallic/electronic sounds really puts my body in an expressive and comfortable state. I find inspiration almost anywhere, though. It may be as simple as seeing a person, image, place, or having an idea, or seeing a potential story. Inspiration is everywhere and it’s up to the artist to receive the ideas.
What else do you do besides drawing?
I have many other creative hobbies. I do some photography, 3d digital sculpting, and I compose my own orchestral music (look up Treijim on youtube), for example. I also write stories, and my artwork, music, and stories are all woven together because they’re all set in a fictional world I’ve invented called Riiga. The encyclopedia for it can be found at my website, under the Riiga heading.
Tell us about your favourite piece…
I always avoid answering questions about “favourites”. I find it almost impossible to decide. Actually, I would describe it more as “unfair” to the rest of my artwork. Every piece has a reason for its purpose and is valid in its own right. Having said that, some of the pieces I’m most proud of art works like Little Norian, Tobias Edgard, and Prince Olston, and usually the pride comes from the commitment involved in working on these pieces literally for years. Sometimes the ones I like most are my least popular works. It’s probably because nobody else understands them. It doesn’t bother me, but it’s something I notice.
Tell us about the novel you’re working on…
My novel, as I said, is based in Riiga. I’m hoping to write a series of novels about a family that was split up as a war broke out. Each chapter changes points of view between family members and they try to reunite while trying to stop the war. I think it has a lot of potential for some good stories, and the family members range in ages from children up to 50 years of age, so people should find somebody to relate to. It’s going to be an epic story and it’s really fun to write and develop.
What are some of the responses you’ve gotten from people about your drawings?
I get a wide variety of responses on my drawings. If it’s a realistic portrait, people tend to say how real it looks, or something like that. Some read into the expressions or try to guess what the artwork means (nobody really gets it right), while others focus on technical aspects. Sometimes somebody tries to find a flaw to point out, which I don’t really like to hear. I can take criticism, but I don’t see any point in criticising a piece of work that I’ve declared to be completed, because it’s done and dusted, so to speak. Overall, though, I receive a lot of positive feedback on my artwork.