Giles Gilson Video Series

Larger than life, Giles Gilson (1942-2015) was both brilliant and irreverent, and enjoyed shocking everyone with the unexpected. A renegade and a truly creative spirit who was unafraid to blast through boundaries, his work demonstrated impeccable technical execution and an undeniable playfulness and embrace of absurdity. Gilson influenced many of the materials and techniques we use today through his innovative use of graphics and automotive paint/lacquer, and incorporation of metal. Gilson was a gifted artist who achieved considerable success in museum and gallery circles, but shared his time and his knowledge generously with others.

Giles Gilson received AAW’s Professional Outreach Program Merit Award in 2007, and became an AAW Honorary Lifetime Member in 2009.




Selected work of Giles Gilson, pictured above (left to right):

Cabinet on a Jar Answering the Phone, 1981,Cherry burl, padauk, holly, East Indian rosewood, stainless steel, 12" × 6" (John Reich Collection), Photo: Rick Siciliano

Reversal Graphic, 1986, Wood, lacquer, 38" × 13" (97cm × 33cm), Photo: Courtesy of Lindquist Studios: Mark Lindquist, John McFadden

Fiber Vase II, 1987, Walnut, four fiberglass panels, formed over a turned, basswood hollow vessel, paint, 14" × 7½" (Private collection), Photo: Rick Siciliano

The Maker (picture piece), 1995, aqua pearl flip, brass ring, cocobolo foot, corian base, 16½" × 6¼" (The Lipton Collection), Photo: Rick Siciliano

Stratus (mobile), 1978, Baltic birch, walnut, mahogany, stainless steel hardware, 72" × 27" × 52", (Yale University Art Gallery), Photo: Rick Siciliano

Cammy-Oh 9—Highlights from the Muse, 2002, Enriched walnut, blue interior, brass ring, figured birch foot, 65" × 16", Photo: John McFadden



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“Imagination is the ability to dream—to fantasize—to visualize and create sequences of events in the realm of thought. There’s the human process… the sequence of emotional and intellectual events a person experiences as a result of a set of circumstances. I have found that my process—the sequence of emotional events that I go through in creating a piece—has many levels. Some of the triggers for these events can be traced to very early childhood. Many of them can be traced to more recent experiences. Because I’ve had so many experiences in the past that can best be described as bizarre, I have long felt that it is important to include a sense of the ridiculous. Yet, when I’m doing a piece, I must be careful not to clutter a work with this. I use the absurd elements when they bring something to the final work.

All of the choices I make in the design of a work will be influenced by the circumstances around me, current perception and emotion, and the culmination of past experience. I have asked philosophical questions as long as I can remember and I often find that this quest influences the work in subtle—and sometimes not so subtle—ways.”

- Giles Gilson