Costa Mesa, California
"I am from the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. In the late 1980s I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal for two years. During this two-year stint, I visited every major city in India, finding myself exploring the huge slums found there. On my return to home, I moved from the Mid-West to escape the snow to teach High School Art in Orange County, California. Since finishing my MFA at Cal State Fullerton, I have been exhibiting in galleries both at home and abroad.
My work is most often landscapes. A major portion of my output is paintings of slums of the developing world, where I often add an element of western cultural privilege (and oblivion) into settings of urban blight. Inspiration for what I call “Slumscapes” comes from first-hand experience travelling. Most often I return over and over to my favorite destination: India. In the vast poverty-stricken fringes of its vast megalopolises I trip out on how the economic disparities are obscenely extreme. I’ve been spending a lot of time in Mumbai slums: photographing, filming, creating Plein Aire paintings and creating interactive street art.
Besides depicting slums, my artwork portrays post-apocalyptic debris fields, landfills, and detritus-cluttered deserts. The Juxtaposition of Disney themes and beloved characters (i.e.: Mickey Mouse) with all these dystopias best conveys my personal views. Pondering contemporary social, political, economical and philosophical conundrums, I can’t help but feel absurdly helpless, pessimistic and humored about the future of Western Civilization…" - Jeff Gillette