Our eighty seventh interview in this series of intimate interviews is with talented photographer and artist David Gilbert from California, United States . You may know him from his popular Instagram account entitled @davidagilbertart This is a naturally flowing and extraordinarily sensitive interview from a man very much in touch with his art as well as his psyche. Enjoy…
To read the other published interviews in this series including artists, Adria Ellis, Rino Rossi, Mehmet Duyulmus, Alexis Rotella, Lou Ann Sanford Donahue, Irene Oleksiuk, Kerry Mitchell, Filiz Ak, Dale Botha, M. Cecilia Sao Thiago, Deborah McMillion, Rita Colantonio, Amy Ecenbarger, Jane Schultz, Anca Balaj, Joyce Harkin, Armineh Hovanesian, Kate Zari Roberts, Vicki Cooper, Peter Wilkin, Barbara Braman, Becky Menzies, Sukru Mehmet Omur, Sarah Bichachi, Michel Pretterklieber, Alon Goldsmith, Judy Lurie Wahlberg, Andrea Bigiarini, Sean Hayes, Oola Cristina, Kathleen Magner-Rios Linda Toki, Deb Field, Emilo Nadales, Lydia Cassatt, David Hayes, Jean Hutter, Frederic Deschênes, Mark Schnidman, Fatma Korkut, Fleur Schim, Rob Pearson-Wright, Dieter Gaebel, James Ellis, Marco P Prado, Jeronimo Sanz, Manuela Matos Monteiro, Bleu Chemiko, Manuela Basaldella, Stefania Piccioni, Luis Rodríguez, Marilisa Andriani (@mitrydate) Mayte Balcells (@artofmayte), Nicole Christophe, Jennifer Graham, Cathrine Halsør Paul Toussaint, Carol Wiebe, Julie Denning, Kim Clayton (@berleyart), Karen Messick, Serap Utaş, MaryJane Rosenfeld, Paul Suciu, Susan Latty (@pause.and.breathe),John Nieto, Phyllis Shenny, Joy Barry, Max Lies Derdonk, Rita Tipunina, Violet Martins, Nizzar Ben Chekroune, Lynette Sheppard, Paul-Andre Hamel, Rejane Rubino, Susan Detroy, Rosalie Heller, Wayman Stairs, Cintia Malhotra, Anita Elle, Juta Jazz, Cheryl Tarrant, Hanni König Kaoru Shintaku and myself, go here.
All images ©David Gilbert
What was your earliest childhood ambition?
I remember watching the Jacques Cousteau specials and wanting to be out there with him, exploring the vast seas and the worlds beneath them.
I took an art gallery management class in my late thirities. Our final project was to host our own group show in a public space. It went way better than expected. A good time had by all. I had several drawings and paintings in the show and was deeply moved by what folks said to me directly or what I overheard them say to each other. No formal awards as of yet.
Shoveling snow, clearing sidewalks and driveways for neighbors. My first more formal job was in my teens at the local library. The basement had decades worth of magazine archives. I loved to look at the pictures in LIFE as well as those in the big art books in the art section. It was there I really began to appreciate the power of the image.
Private or state school?
Public school mostly, I did one year at private university and then switched to state for the last three.
University or work?
University where I studied electrical engineering.
Who was or still is your mentor?
I learn from many teachers and books. One teacher was like a mentor for me. I worked closely with Emilie Conrad for the last 10 years of her life. She was a pioneer in the somatics world and developed the sound and movement work of Continuum. I first began doing digital art there, creating her flyers, brochures, videos, and website. We used Continuum as a springboard into different forms of expression like drawing, writing, improvisation, performance art, and painting. Emilie loved the work I did. She encouraged and guided me to explore the different forms. My creativity and expression really began to bloom during that time. What I learned with her continues to inspire and inform me today.
How physically fit are you?
I feel lighter, more fluid, and stronger in my body today at fifty-six then I did in my twenties. In my thirties I had health challenges that led me to a long road of self-discovery and transformation. Part of my journey is learning how to be as conscious and embodied in this physical form as I can.
Ambition or talent what matters more to success ?
Success is very individual. For me it’s when I’m immersed in and enjoy what I am creating, whether it’s an image, a poem, a song, a story, or a meal. Ambition or desire to create matters more to me.
How politically committed are you ?
I’m not in the traditional sense, and I do feel people with intention cultivating peace, kindness and compassion affect change as we are quantum beings in a connected universe.
What would you like to own but don’t currently possess?
A home with studio space on land with trees, gardens near some form of water.
What is your biggest extravagance?
Time, although feels more a necessity than extravagance. Time to do nothing, to rest, digest, assimilate, gestate, to just be, listen, allow without resistance, judgment, or attachment. And to see what emerges from there.
In which place are you happiest?
In nature mostly with occasional city time as I do love the gifts a city offers – the diversity of people, culture, food, art, architecture, entertainment.
What ambitions do you still have?
Quite a few. I’m currently working on a non-fiction book and in the process got ideas for more books. I have journals full of poems, songs, stories, essays I’d love to put into some kind of form. I’d love to do more collaborative mutlimedia performance and installation work. And I’m still cracking the aging code. Maybe that’s because I do have so much I love to do and share and more time the better!
What drives you on?
An insatiable curiosity to know more. To know what our potential as a species really is.
What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
I don’t have a specific one. There were times where I felt I assisted others to access and express more of their unique potential and greatness they may not have been aware of.
What do you find most irritating in other people?
When I think of what I used to find irritating I don’t find so much anymore. I find more compassion as I see the suffering from which it comes. And if irritation arises, I usually find myself in judgment of some kind, something being shown to me to look at within myself.
If your twenty year old self could see you now, what would he think?
First thing he’d say, with a smile of course is “What, you haven’t learned how to play guitar yet? And what about that second language?” and then he would take a good look at me and say “You’re doing alright kid. Keep up the good work!” And recently I have started to pick up the guitar, finally.
Which object that you’ve lost do you wish you still had?
No object comes to mind although there are some lost moments in time I’d like to retrieve.
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
For people to slow down enough, to give themselves the time to turn inwards, to sense, to feel, to know they are not just their thoughts, emotions or sensations, to know at the core of their being, their essence is love.
Do you believe in the afterlife?
Yes, I had several visitations from my pet dog after he left and a few energetic experiences with people who passed.
If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?
6.5 and rising a little each day…
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