Gary McGillivray: Deconstruction

This week we are celebrating local artist Gary McGillivray’s exhibition Deconstruction, at Kirkby Gallery earlier this year. Gary has been kind enough to answer a few questions for us…

Who is Gary’s biggest inspiration? “It’s difficult to pinpoint any one person. There are a few people who have all had an effect on me; Matisse, Picasso, Sam Walsh (very underrated Liverpool artist), Willem de Kooning, Leon Kossoff, Jean Michel Basquiat, Frank Auerbach are just a few. I like people who take a chance and try new things that excite and question things.”

During this time, it can be hard to find the motivation or inspiration to create, especially if, like Gary, you’re working from home. One thing Gary does is stick to a specific day each week for his artwork – that’s some dedication!

“The global lockdown has made it a bit difficult to set up and paint because I am actually working from home all week with my 9-5 job, so the days are always busy. But, I put Saturdays aside to paint and have managed a few paintings during this period. I’m currently half way through a large landscape, and I also did a lockdown-inspired self portrait that I didn’t realise was inspired by that until I had finished and spoke to someone about it. (The locked door in the background should have been a clue!)”

“It can happen unfortunately, where you feel a bit uninspired and lethargic. The way I deal with it is that I battle on regardless. I set up all my stuff, have a think, look around, look for inspiration, push myself, make some marks. Then normally something can start to happen and you can find some inspiration eventually. Sometimes inspiration doesn’t come knocking, you have to go looking for it.”

 We asked Gary about how lockdown has affected his work: “The difference now is the physical aspect. I would normally go to my studio (thanks to the enormous help of Tina Ball’s ‘Arts Market’ scheme) but now it’s my house I have to work in. I have noticed – and it has been unintentional – that my work has definitely gone more reflective. One piece is about the impact of technology and computers on modern living. We are at a stage in our evolution where we seem to rely heavily – more than ever – on such technologies. Things like that seem to be going into my work more and more.”

Gary’s tips for emerging artists: “Don’t be scared of mistakes. And don’t be scared of paint! Have fun and experiment as much as you can with different mediums. There is no right and wrong. Always try to be original – as much as you can anyway. That’s what makes art exciting….We are all different and should bring something new to the world of art.”

You can find out more about Gary’s work here: