We interact with talented, UK born, painter and muralist Eloise Gillow to talk about the person behind the art and creativity. Currently based in Barcelona, her works are the result of passion and the ability to slow down reality depicting moments around us. Find out what inspires her, how it all started and what her future plans are.
-What would you like to drink? Coffee, Tea, Beer, Soda or something else?
-Introduce yourself to us – as if we had no idea who you were!
I’m Eloise Gillow, a painter and muralist from the UK. I studied languages in the UK, then realist painting in Barcelona, where I’ve been living for the past few years. I paint canvasses in the studio as well as murals in the streets and both practices feed into each other. My imagery focuses on people, by observing my surroundings and everyday gestures.
-How do you define yourself and why? Artist? Street artist? Something else?
Artist. I paint on the streets and on canvas. At the moment I am a painter, but I am open to that evolving too.
– How did it all start for you, and what is it nowadays?
It started with moving to Barcelona for three months to study drawing and painting, and not knowing where that would take me. I studied in a classical painting academy for three years, then these skills have taken me all over, to different cities, to paint murals and do art projects. It has also taken me inwards, to finding my own creative voice, an ongoing process.
-What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
Make coffee and write morning pages. I don’t keep this up when I’m busy with a mural project, but it’s a habit I keep coming back to.
-Street art is mostly a visually stimulating form of art. To add one more sense to it, what music would you pick to accompany your art work?
Adrianne Lenker, Alice Phoebe Lou & Kae Tempest.
-In all forms of art, inspiration is crucial. What inspires you and how does that end up in your art?
My surroundings and life experience. Slowing down and noticing life. Sometimes photos that I take of people around me become my artworks. Other times I get an image in my mind linked to a feeling, and ask friends to pose for photos to represent this, or I want to speak about a particular theme and find a way of expressing this visually. With my street art practice I also find inspiration in the culture, community and the surroundings of the wall itself.
-What is the hardest part while working on a piece of art?
This varies from piece to piece. One challenge I’m navigating at the moment is finding the balance between creating something that will really serve the community who will live with it, fit well in the space, and, at the same time, staying true to my voice as an artist and creating works that maintain a complexity of interpretation, that challenge the viewer and the status quo, that are not too easy to consume.
-Do you have any artist(s) you admire? Can you pinpoint what it is that makes them so special for you?
Hyuro, Faith47, Swoon, Helen Bur first came to mind. A truthfulness in all their work and their interaction with public space.
I’m also thinking of other painters who I really look up to for their technique – Aryz, Gerard Castellvi, Alexander Dyomkin, Alba Fabre, Elisa Capdevila, Sainer, Colleen Barry.. the list could go on.
-Which cities are the most inspiring for you as an artist?
Barcelona has been incredibly inspiring for me. It’s where I learned to paint and found a community of artists and my first opportunities to paint in the streets. I’m currently in Berlin and finding that is opening my mind in different ways. I’m also inspired by rural areas.
-What other passions do you have apart from art?
Swimming in rivers, lakes, seas…, camping, yoga, dance & movement practices, writing, reading.
-Do you have a special project that you hope to achieve some day?
I’d like to re-engage with what is going on in the UK. I’ve been disconnected, living abroad for many years. It would be interesting to do community projects there, to help in some way to strengthen communities and improve public space. I would also like to get more involved in environmental projects.
-Tell us a bit more about your art; does it include symbolisms, messages or repeated patterns? How has it evolved?
It does, but I don’t want the symbolism to be too obvious. I try to always paint with an awareness of the context, the place the work is in as well as the broader social, political and ecological contexts of our time. I have my ideas about what each piece is about, but I want individuals to bring their own interpretations. I aim to create images that can be interpreted on both individual and collective levels.
– How long does your artwork, on walls, usually survive for?
Depends on the location and on chance. My most ephemeral work lasted less than 24 hours, painted in a popular spot in Barcelona. There are other murals that I think will last for many years, but I’m not attached to that, they have a life of their own once I’ve painted them and can be intervened, painted over, demolished.
-What do you think, people feel or think of, when they see one of your works on the street?
I hope that that is different for each person so it is not possible to say too specifically. However, I do hope they communicate a sense of slowing down, of connecting to each other and the natural world, of tapping into a deeper undercurrent of feeling below the rush of daily city life. The viewer has to literally slow down their pace in the city in order to stop and observe the mural, adding to this process.
-What are your creative plans for the future?
I will be painting murals in France, England and Greece this summer. I want to balance mural painting with quieter times in the studio for reflection and developing my imagery and technique. I’d also like to get involved in more social projects improving public space.
-Is there a little wish you have that not many people know about?
For the mural industry to improve its practices in relation to environmental impact e.g. recyling waste after projects, developing new types of paints, offering train journeys over flights for shorter distances.
-Thank you Eloise for your time and and the opportunity you gave us to discover more about the person behind such inspirational artworks!
‘’I Support Street Art’’ team.