Five questions to Thomas Gillant

Five questions to Thomas Gillant

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Thomas Gillant is an abstract painter born in France in 1990. His work is characterized by gestural abstraction, digital aesthetics, and an exploration of visual perception. After completing his art studies in France, he has been based in Tokyo for several years now.How did you get into art?

During my youth, I often experienced solitude often and I guess it shaped some aspects of my personality. To occupy my time, I cultivated solo pastimes like reading and drawing. My interest for painting only started when I discovered the vast possibilities of the oil medium. And it was during visits to galleries and museums that I began to understand the challenges of pursuing a career as an artist.

How would you describe your style? What makes your art special?

My paintings can look very different from one to another, but they all share the common idea to create visual tensions and deceptions. This involves imbuing expressive brushwork with a sense of dimensional illusion, blending blur and sharpness to manipulate perception, and emphasizing the tangible qualities of oil paint while preserving the canvas's apparent flatness. Oil paint is a central part of my practice. It’s a fascinating medium to work with, so versatile, so organic. It’s fascinating to think it has been part of our culture for so long and keeps relevant today.

How do you go about developing your work?

Morning sketching are as a valuable form of visual brainstorming, they give me a fresh perspective on motifs and color combinations. I usually select one sketch as the foundation for an afternoon painting. I regularly reassess my process, using different tools and techniques, which leaves the outcome open to some uncertainty. I try not to have a precise idea of the final stage. I accept result when it fails, as much as I’m grateful when it turns out to be an interesting piece.Who or what influences you? 

I am intrigued by the perpetual refinement of our visual language and how we respond to new stimuli, particularly in our interactions with tablets and screens. I am fascinated by the immersive and tactile qualities of digital visuals, while they remain confined to a flat surface. I frequently browse images online, gazing at the quality of digital graphics and uncanny photographs. I also find inspiration in the work of other artists by visiting galleries, attending exhibitions, and reading online articles. Observing how they tackle different artistic ideas challenges me to reevaluate my own work.

What are you planning to do next?

I have upcoming exhibitions planned in Tokyo and am eager to explore new concepts and develop fresh series of artworks. I want to continue building connections with local artists and engage in collaborative group projects more frequently in the future.