Stuart Gibson – Tucson, Arizona

 The Doormat Suit, 2012, Plastic grass doormats adhered onto complete and functional men’s suit, Dimensions variable

The Doormat Suit, 2012, Plastic grass doormats adhered onto complete and functional men’s suit, Dimensions variable

Briefly describe the work you do.

I’m very interested in the transient nature of the modern life.

My works are largely inspired by personal experiences, specifically on the aspects that might be easily overlooked within the whole. By emphasizing occurrences that might be otherwise qualified as fleeting, inconsequential or happenstance, my goal is to bring attention to the relevance of these less memorialized, yet far more numerable conditions of living that create our individual and collective character and experience. The physical manifestation of my creative process employs the use of a variety of media; including drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, installation, video and performance.

Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.

The product of a very average middle class 1980’s upbringing, I grew up an only child and spent a lot of time inside my own head. I had never planned to be an artist, but instead a scientist, skateboarder, soldier or mechanic all of which were modeled after the characters in Hollywood movies like Top Gun, Police Academy, Real Genius and the like. Sometime during my freshman year of college I was sent to the campus art museum to do an English composition exercise and through the experience of looking at the collection I found myself completely convinced that pursuing visual art could give the opportunity to do something really extraordinary and meaningful, maybe still not unlike those characters in the movies.

The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

While I have kept a home studio since I was in graduate school, my creative practice often takes place outside of that space. I basically think of my laptop and cellphone as a portable studio and do the majority of my research and pre-production work using these tools wherever I might be when the time and creative energy presents itself.

All’s Fair in Love and War, 2011 , Mixed-Media Installation/performance, Dimensions Variable

All’s Fair in Love and War, 2011 , Mixed-Media Installation/performance, Dimensions Variable

What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

When I first started making art I didn’t have any understanding of the importance of the public role of the artist. Over time I’ve found that it is important to be a positive presence in the both the art scene and the community at large. Representing oneself and our field with intelligence, logic and respect encourages the development of new business relationships, stronger ties for pre-existing ones and the opportunity to grow new enthusiasts and practitioners in the field of visual arts.

When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can? 

Anytime that I can steal for making art is a good time! While I work throughout the day on research, digital work, or preliminaries, the evening and night is typically when I do the physical production of my work. I don’t keep a regular daily or weekly schedule for my studio time allotment but allow it to fluctuate based on the projects that I’m engaged with, time of year and my professional commitments.

How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?

Over the course of the last five years my work has become both less narrative and more abstract, but not necessarily across the board. I have been expanding my practice to include sonic work and I have recently started to seriously incorporate printmaking back into my work for the first time in nearly a decade. If anything I’ve gained a stronger sense of direction and discipline over the course of the last five years. I used to work in short bursts intermittently and now I have a steadily paced and recurring pattern for my research and production.

In the Studio

In the Studio

Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?

Creative influences come from so many directions and people, some particularly strong influence on my creative practice have come from writers and artists such as Lorie Moore, Tom Clark and Don Delillo, Sophie Calle, Lawrence Weiner and Richard Prince. In my educational experience at UA I was greatly influenced by teaching artists that I studied with such as Ellen McMahon, Barbara Penn, Chuck Hitner and Ken Shore.

If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why?

I do have an occupation outside of being an artist. I am a fulltime college professor specializing in foundations education. Working with art students and other teaching artists is amazing and a constant source of inspiration both for my creative practice as well as general research interests.


Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, Stuart Gibson earned his BFA in studio arts with a multi-media emphasis from the University of Arizona in 2002, and spent the following two years traveling, exhibiting and studying further at the prestigious Cranbrook Academy of Art as well as Wayne State University prior to returning to the University of Arizona to complete his MFA with honors in 2007. As an emerging artist of growing international stature, Gibson has been showing his work across the United States in a variety of esteemed locations as well as gaining the attention of international contemporary collectors and critics. In the last few years Gibson has gained opportunities to advance his art-making career with increasing frequency which has lead to multiple solo exhibitions, being selected for two separate artist residencies, entering prestigious private and public collections and being awarded an artist project grant in Kalamazoo County among other achievements. After recently relocating from a two year stay in the Great Lakes region, Stuart Gibson is currently serving as a member of the full-time core faculty at the Southwest University of Visual Arts and plans to continue to grow his artistic career locally, nationally and internationally from his home and studio in Tucson.

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission. 

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