The Rapidian

The Artists of Heartside Gallery and Studio-- Gil

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

'Everyday I woke up, I knew all I wanted to do was create art.'
Gil at work in the studio

Gil at work in the studio /Heartside Gallery and Studio

Underwriting support from:

Gemini /Heartside Gallery and Studio

portrait of the artist

portrait of the artist /Gil

Our featured artist for November is Gil. Here is a little about the artist, in his own words:

"My earliest memory of practicing art stretches far back to around age 6. My dad used to bring home large packages of printing paper, the paper with the perforated edges that run along its sides, for my sisters and I to draw on. Whenever we’d get bored we’d lay out a stretch of the paper, scribble lines upon it, color in the shapes that the lines produced and then analyze what we saw. My older sister who I rivaled most with growing up became a huge source of my motivation. Because she could draw so well I found myself envying her talent. I began pushing myself to be better than her. Everyday I would practice drawing everything that interested me, which mostly were cartoons. 

I didn’t start drawing from my imagination until about the 8th or 9th grade. As a child DragonBall Z was my favorite cartoon so I’d draw the characters on cardboard, cut them out and mix them with the other characters that I was creating. Many of the characters or action figure men I created where made using twisty ties and broken pens. My parents didn’t have a lot of money to afford me store bought action figures so creating my own men became both a hobby and a habit. Sometimes I’d bring in other materials for creating such as cardboard and aluminum foil but the ones I found most pride in where the ones created using twisty ties and pipe cleaners. These action figures or “men” as I refer to them opened a new artistic outlet for me and all I wanted to do was constantly engulf myself in art. Art shows were a mainstay and it was ritual for me to always have a sketchbook stuck in hand. I became known in the family as the creative or artistic one and for Christmas and birthdays all I would receive were art supplies. People were always introducing me to new forms of art and artists. 

As time moved on I developed an appreciation for character designing, illustration and comic books, thus fueling my interest in the multimedia side of art. After high school I knew I wanted to attend college but I was unsure of where I wanted to go or what I wanted to study. With computers a growing phenomenon in our culture I knew something in computers would guarantee some type of career. I found success when I received an Associate’s in Multimedia but still I wasn’t satisfied, I wanted so much more. I tried game design and lasted in the program for three semesters before deciding that this too wasn’t the path for me. I wanted to get back to Fine Arts.

School was only half of the cause for my straying focus from fine arts. Music was another avenue of interest for me. After being introduced to rap and poetry in junior high I realized that I had a knack for this art form. But still more and more I wanted to return to the art. I decided to move to Chicago and attend the Illinois Institute of Art Chicago. Here I found my place of belonging; those I could inspire and be inspired by surrounded me. I left everything behind to follow this dream to Chicago. But after experiencing financial hardship my journey was short lived. With the lack of space to work outside of the school environment I was pressured to work on music. Every day I woke up I knew all I wanted to do was create art. 

Another opportunity to move presented itself and I decided to seize it. I decided to move to Grand Rapids with my girlfriend. For two months I was able to work from home on my art and I produced a couple of satisfactory pieces that I was very appreciative of. Out on a casual walk one day I stumbled upon Heartside; immediately I was hooked. In just two months I was able to produce more satisfactory pieces than I had in a long time. Through Heartside I was able to connect and be connected with other art galleries and art opportunities for exposing my art. Now approaching four months I am comfortable in a signature style, among many styles I’ve tried and created and working toward a long awaited dream fulfilled."


Starting in November, Gil will be a featured artist on our walls at Heartside, featuring paintings, drawing and (hopefully!) poetry. In the meantime, check out more of Gil's work here.


The Artists of Heartside Gallery and Studio is a monthly feature to highlight some of the wonderful people of the Heartside neighborhood.  Visit , Facebook and our Flickr page to keep up with us, to learn about volunteering and other ways to get involved.


Sarah Scott is Arts Coordinator for Heartside Gallery and Studio at Heartside Ministry, and can be reached at [email protected]

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