Downward Thrust. by Glen Gauthier, collage on book cover
We are proud to highlight the work of Glen Gauthier on the cover of our 3rd issue!
Born in 1965 in south Louisiana, Glen Gauthier is the youngest of five siblings. He was exposed to the art world at age five, when his mother recruited him as a model for her and her artist friends to sketch. Glen grew up in a house filled with his mother Shirley’s artwork and began drawing from a young age. He took a different path in college, majoring in General Studies and Business Management. His first accounting class cured him of that notion. He walked into the first exam, handed the professor his drop slip, changed his major to fine arts and never looked back. Glen’s focus was the Advertising and Design fields, where he still works today, after almost 30 years in the business, currently as Creative Director for a Dallas-based creative firm, as well as his freelance design business. He started pursuing fine art seriously in 2011, as an artistic outlet to offset his day job.
Glen’s collages take his love of drawing, printed ephemera, aircraft, and the Cold War, and combines them in a series of works that both address social issues, as well as just have fun with the medium. Glen inherited a few boxes of old documents from his late aunt’s insurance agency, and these have found their way into most of his pieces. Garage and estate sales also aid in providing Glen with the raw material for his work. Glen believes art should be something that is enjoyable and engaging to experience on the surface, while inviting the viewer deeper into each piece, to attempt to discern meaning, whether he or she is successful in doing so or not. He hopes his artwork can cross the boundary between past, present and future, acting as a kind of time travel machine, albeit one that doesn’t require the requisite math skills. No wonder he dropped that college accounting class.
My collage artwork utilizes printed ephemera to serve as a time machine. Things with a history have fascinated me since childhood. My wife and I are drawn to older homes and neighborhoods, wondering what life was like back when they were new. The drama of the Cold War, the draw of the golden age of travel, the charm of old books, brochures and documents–all of these are fascinating to me, and help to inform my work.
I find these materials in garage sales, estate sales and antique stores, and serve as the backdrop and subject matter to much of my work. I feel like these bits and pieces have been stuck in the dark in these places, and I get to uncover them and combine them with others to give them new life and purpose. Aircraft and space travel machinery of the past, military machinery–all of these to me have stories to tell, whether real or imagined. By combing through these materials, the seeds of ideas are planted. Then I create thumbnail sketches, trying to make sense out of them. Patterns start to emerge, then images and stories rise to the top as I’m working on a piece. My more whimsical pieces are often the result of visual connections between previously unrelated images, reminiscent of the Dada art movement, which when combined, create new, more interesting visuals.
Themes that I explore include the Cold War, travel, military defense, America’s shifting position on the global stage, and the politics therein. Some of my works are very serious, while others are just having fun with the medium.