We had the good fortune of connecting with Gigi Collins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gigi, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
If you find something healthy and creative that interests you, then explore it. Do so with gratitude. It may sound cliché, but life moves fast. The older you get, the faster it moves. It is exponential, so don’t waste it. I have faith in God that my paths will be straight, and when they are not, I trust it is such for a good reason.
So, for me, pursuit of what makes me happy, whether it is a pastime or a career, or a pastime that becomes a career, I cannot settle for less than what I feel is best. There are some people who may not understand your exploration, but as my father always told us, “Never let anyone else define who you are.”
Therefore, I do not look at my life and career choices as taking risks. Those choices are simply musts.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
A friend asked me at the end of 2018 the age-old magical question:
“What would you do if you could do anything?”
My answer: “Well, I would paint…a lot.”
About a month later I passed by an art store and remembered that conversation. So, I went inside, bought art supplies, and just started painting. I was a visual art student in college, and traded that path for a career in film, television, and Broadway. Now I feel that I have come full circle, where I started, which feels good. Life is too short not to find your sweet spot. I have been in and around that spot many times in my life, but never right in the center of it – until now.
Over the last two years, I have been emerging as an artist, finding my path, and building a body of work. 2020, with its challenges and difficulties, allowed me some time to just create. Now, looking back, I see that time as a blessing in the midst of chaos. Some days were better than others, which I believe was universal for everyone, but the work gave me focus and purpose.
For me, the process is enjoyable. Even the failures. They are special gifts, really. When you look at them as problems to solve, instead of impenetrable obstacles, they will propel you forward. I believe God listens when we ask for guidance. It is important to express gratitude every day for that guidance, as well as the many blessings in life. For me that includes an extremely supportive life-partner and family.
Many of my current works are larger abstracts, and I have started adding figurative portraits to the mix because I love painting people, real and imagined. Both genres have opened the door for commissions. Being able to connect with collectors and fellow artists from all over the world is the most incredible and valuable technological attribute of our current time. I have made friends and connections all over the globe, and it makes the world so much smaller and more intimate. It is somehow more connected, especially now. I hope we can build and grow on that human connection in a compassionate and positive direction.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is a tough question! Unfortunately, the last year has seen so many great businesses close due to the pandemic. I just discovered that Octane Coffee has closed! Here are a few of my favorites, but there are so many. Of course, there is the High Museum and MOCA, both of which are a must-see if you enjoy art. The Plaza Theater is a beautiful vintage movie house that has been operational since 1939 and runs a slew of fun and interesting movies every week. The Kimball house is a favorite – amazing cuisine and authentic Absinthe service. Antico Pizza is awesome, serving brick-oven Neapolitan pizza. La Douceur and Alon’s are our favorite French bakeries. Buffalo Exchange is a great thrift store, and Highland Row Antiques has some really good finds, and don’t miss the basement! Then there is the Aquarium. You can sit in front of one of the many beautiful and mesmerizing tanks and just peace-out The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Without a doubt, I dedicate it to my family who are all creatives! Starting with my parents, who encouraged me to do or be anything I could dream. Also, my super-supportive life-partner, brother, sister-in-law, nieces, extended family, and of course, close friends. I am very grateful to have this tribe that is with me through thick and thin.