Gil Fahey – Images Frozen in Time
Gil Fahey knows the purpose of his art. He seeks “to freeze time by freeing creativity,” working to display “the endless toil of men and women.” As a child, Gil spent his summers on one of the farms near his home in a small town. He says that painting and drawing “evoke an early fascination with the textures of stone and woods, the moods of the meadows, old farms, cellar holes, and earthen roads disappearing into the woods.” Although he has not always been able to focus primarily on his art, it has never been far from his life.
When Gil was young, he thought his ideal career would be that of a wildlife illustrator, following in the footsteps of some of his heroes, like Tom Lovell and Edwin Dickinson. As wildlife illustration slowly became absorbed by the world of photography, Gil’s heroes left to paint western scenes and he realized that the “fertile ground of the golden age of illustration” would be an influence, but not necessarily a career. However, he never forgot the teachings of his instructors, including Bernie Lettich and Ken Davies, even when his life took him away from his original goals – and their influence is present in his work today.
As Gil says, society is often based on materialism, and the role of an artist can be “fleeting and ephemeral,” but Gil was able to stay true to his passions, while also carving out a life for himself professionally as a Senior Graphic Designer and Staff Illustrator for a Fortune 500 corporation in New England. In addition, he never gave up his joy of freelance illustration and cartoon and he also taught drawing and painting. His classes have included private instruction, art programs, and adult education.
Now retired, Gil has been able to return to his first love for wildlife. He finds himself turning more to it each year. “The flame burns brightly,” he says. Inspiration comes from a variety of places. Gil Fahey describes art as “a vision born of the artist’s imagination – constant stimulative input, sometimes even at 2 am.” He brings to his work a sensitive awareness of design impact and textural clarity. His landscapes, still life, and wildlife paintings all feature a control of light and shadow, intermingled with detail. Gil works mostly in oil on plywood with ten coats of gesso on a birch surface. Pencil work is done on Strathmore hot press illustration board.
Although he admits disappointment in some of his work, he says one thing he loves about the process is that he can “go back to it several years later and learn from it.” He also accepts that the artist’s life can be lonely, but that it can also be beneficial, because the artist can work at his or her own pace and spend time in contemplation. Even with the challenges, Gil has never considered not painting or drawing. “I know the risks of NOT doing what I do,” he says.
A graduate of The Paier School of Art and former student at the Pratt Institute, Gil spends his time, when he’s not painting or drawing, working in his garden or visiting bookstores with his wife. He enjoys a great story, especially a cop procedural, or returning to the poets, such as A.E. Housman and Robert Frost, who shaped his childhood and his art.
Currently, Gil is working on a painting of an old dilapidated barn, which is reflective of his passion for New England and the simplicity of pastoral life. He says that someday, he would love to complete his dream project, consisting of several large pastoral works. For more information on Gil Fahey, or to see some of his creations, visit his website at http://www.gilfahey.com.
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