Damien Gilley is a multi-disciplinary artist working in Portland, Oregon, having graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Contemporary Art Practice, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in New Media and a Bachelor in Psychology. His work explores hidden urban structures through perceptual installations that combine drawing and sculptural approaches. Gilley is largely influenced by Fred Sandback and vintage science fiction, especially by J. G. Ballard, an English novelist, short story writer, and essayist, who came to be associated with the New Waves of science fiction early in his career. Gilleys installations have been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including Tetem Kunstruimte (Enschede, Netherlands), EastWestProject (Berlin, DE), Las Vegas Art Museum or The Belfry (New York), amongst others. For more check out the interview below and visit his website www.damiengilley.com.
Whom do you look up to?
Anyone who creates work that expands the understanding of perception, metaphysics, or the digital/physical relationship of our reality today. Also, I love Fred Sandback.
Are there any personalities that have contributed to your successful career path?
Personalities that have influenced me are people like pioneering musician Terry Riley, or data visionaries like Edward Tufte. When it comes to art making, I personally separate the artist from the work and look at work without the influence of their aura. Phenomenology of perception is my primary interest, so I am influenced by philosophers and theorists like Henri Bergson and Guy Debord amongst many. Other than people, I get really inspired by vintage sci-fi especially JG Ballard. Sci-fi to me is the future, and seeing how technology evolves and our interaction with it is key to my visual language.
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I’m a Psychic Bro
How did your art career start?
I was a graphic designer first, but I needed more philosophical goals in life and that took too much of my creative energy out, so I decided to take a backpack trip through India for 5 months alone and one day on a very secluded beach, after two weeks of psychedelic beach fatigue, I realized I needed to focus on art. Here I am 10 years later.
Quotes and Wisdoms
How do you define creativity?
Challenging thought and the known through experimentation.
What is your favourite quote or do you have a personal motto?
I use weird words that describe my desired mental state, like living in a state of double-mind and always fake-believing.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21?
I was smarter then, more psychological, but too academic. Now I’m swimming in psychic goo. But it’s better to drown in thought than to know what you’re doing always and float on the surface.
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him?
Get ready to suffer, power through it, let that struggle become your psychological force, and ride that high forever.
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion for art?
Permanent vacation and making a cult. I could stoner meditate with my friends in the forest till I die. That is the best art anyways.
All images © Damien Gilley
Leave a Reply