Pleased to say we will be having an exhibition of Bills work from the 22 of October at the Maspie House Gallery in Falkland. Please get in touch if you would like to come along to the private viewing.
Bill Gillon was the youngest child of a very religious working class family. The Church played a big part in the day to day life of the family and its influence can be seen in much of his early work.
Although not a naturally gifted student he was and remained a hard worker. As a teenager he was encouraged by his art teacher Ricky Demarco to try his hand at Art College.
At Art College Bill quickly gravitated towards figurative painting but latter said that he had thought of studying sculpture. Bill had some success at college with several of his works being added to the college’s collection. Although a hard worker Bill did not always work well with authority and towards the end of his college career found himself in the position of being suspended from college at the same time as being awarded a painting prize.
After college Bill taught at number schools including his old school Scotus before settling at Telford college for 30 odd years. At Telford Bill developed a course that placed drawing and painting at the heart of learning. He believed that teachers should be practising artists and that students should be able to see the teachers practice.
The subject matter of Bills work was often very dark (especially during the 70s) this and his uncompromising attitude towards showing and selling the work, led to controversy and a reputation for being difficult. This was mirrored in the work place, a respected teacher but with very set views about the role of management.
In his painting Bill worked to his own agenda and refused to let commercial (and sometimes practical) considerations to influence the form or content of his work. He put a lot of time and energy into ensuring that he knew the craft of making paintings , it was important to him that his work would age as well as any of the old masters.
As an artist he was generally loath to admit to being influenced by any other artist but he did a various times talk about admiring the work of people like Bernard Hesig , Holbien and Francis Bacon. Bill always was inspired by his models and has left a huge archive of photos and sketches of the people who inspired him. Towards the end of his creative life Bill became far more concerned with in his words painting beautiful things and his work reflected this with a new found confidence and sense of contentment.
We believe that Bill had a stroke while in Amsterdam 4 years ago, his ability to paint or draw was completely destroyed and he has been unable to work since then. Sadly I personally think he was just starting to do some of his best work, that his years of perfecting his skills was now allowing him to express a whole new side of his creative personality.
Bill now lives in a care home and after a bit of a bumpy start has settled down and is content with his new home. The nature of Bills illness means he remembers very little of his past life and does not always recognize his own work but if asked about himself he is very clear that he is an artist.
To get a flavour of Bill and his work please visit the Facebook Page – Friends of Bill Gillon