“Mostly what I want to create is something very interesting for eyeballs, it’s more visual than anything—a visual experience.”
Every time I get the honor to interview fine artists, a bit of awkwardness takes over me. But the art of interviewing and allowing talented people to illustrate authentic insights on their work and process, winds up giving me a relaxed sense of inspiration.
Gina Borg’s work is included in numerous private collections as well as the collection of the Alameda County Arts Commission. Born in Sacramento, California, Borg attended the MFA program in painting at Boston University and received her BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Last week we had a pleasant early evening chat on the phone while she took a break from packing for a cross-town move.
Gina, would you like to introduce yourself?
“I am Gina Borg, an Oakland-based painter and I make paintings that primarily relate to color relationship, light and incremental change. Usually in my paintings there are many nuances which relate to only a few colors. These color relationships excite me the most— the tiny incremental shifts of each color.”
What does being an artist mean to you?
“Being an artist (if you have the discipline to maintain a regular practice) [creates] an opportunity to playfully utilize your brain in ways that don’t often get used. It takes a lot of discipline to make that space, but it’s a special relationship needed to cultivate your art. For me, it’s not just that you’re inspired all the time and that art is just coming out of you. You have to work hard to maintain that discipline and that practice.”
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
“I wouldn’t say I have a ritual or routine, I would say that I have to make a living. I’ve crafted my work life to have enough practical time to create art. I am an on-call as-needed museum worker. Any day I have off working for money, I paint—unless there’s something really fun going on, I’ll do that instead every once and a while. But by default, anytime I’m not working I’m painting. It’s not a ritual but by a way of making money. I work at home so it’s difficult because there’s always e-mail and the telephones and Wikipedia. There are a million ways to waste time. I [have] to shut down my internet browser, make a cup of coffee and work. What I like to do is put on a podcast—I know it will be a solid hour to work all the way through without any distractions. Because a lot of my art process is similar to brick-laying (though it certainly does require me to focus), at a certain point my eyes can make the decision for me. I like listening to music too. I will say that another element that really keeps me from procrastination is that when I’m painting with oil, I do need natural light. In order to see the color relationships I need to use the daylight while I have it. When the sun goes down the color relations get wonky.”
Does the interior of your studio tell a story about the kind of artist you are?
“Well, at this point, I’m working in my living room. Stepping into my home is like stepping into my studio. I try to be orderly about my supplies, materials and storage. But beyond that, my living space is my workspace. It’s designed more for working and not for entertaining. I am looking forward to trying to separate the two. It makes me excited to move into my new place—to have a backyard and a garden again.”
How important is your workspace to you?
“It is fundamental, it’s kind of the most important space in my life.”
Your solo show at K. Imperial Gallery titled, Elements of Day seemed to have translated directly each of your pieces—especially your work “Cinema”. What are you trying to communicate with your art?
“I think that I’m trying to make a space where you can slow down and notice subtle things, and notice other relationships and how incremental change multiplied can create dramatic change. Some of my paintings move from dark to light and they do it in tiny baby steps. Over a larger area that eventually completely transforms. To sort of sum it up: I want to create a space that if someone wants to, they can quiet their mind and think about movement, growth, and change. Mostly what I want to create is something very interesting for eyeballs, it’s more visual than anything—a visual experience.”
Are there any creative mediums you haven’t pursued yet but would like to try?
“I would love to get into more lithography. I tried it in college and really want to get back in to it. It’s a very interesting medium and it can be very painterly. I’m drawn to it a lot because you can essentially paint on stone and all of the subtle nuances are quite beautiful. You can sort of paint with transparent paint and water color and I would just love to do a ton of that.”
Thinking Like The Universe, Gina’s current exhibit opened January 10th, 2013. It brings two galleries and two cities into conversation: K. Imperial Fine Art in San Francisco and Hatch Gallery in Oakland curated by Aimee Friberg. Thinking Like The Universe runs at K. Imperial Fine Art from January 10th through February 2nd, 2013. The opening reception will be Thursday, January 10th from 5 – 7:30 pm. The exhibit runs at Hatch Gallery from January 18th through February 23rd, with an opening reception on Friday, January 18th from 7-9pm.