There are so many layers to Gigi Bio. She’s a painter, illustrator, a real deal fashion designer by day and “Urban Reconstructionist” photographer by night.
Layers are also a major feature of Bio’s work. In this part of the interview Gigi Bio explains where some of those layers came from by explaining where she came from. In case you missed it here’s Part 1.
I understand your brother and sister are artists also. Are Mama and Papa Bio also artists? What was your upbringing like creatively speaking?
My parents were always very encouraging with our talents. My mother taught me how to sew and brought home old garment pattern books full of fashion illustrations from work. My father was a US Navy, X-Ray Technician, which I like to say is “photography of the skeleton”.
I come from a family of artists – painters, illustrators, musicians, designers, actors and sequential artists. Growing up was always a intimidating, creative and competitive battle between family , but Art is what brought us together. [Pictured left Baby Gigi, Oakland, CA]
Why do you work under an alias?
My full name is Geraldine Paulin [pronounced POW-lin] Bio. The nickname “Gigi” was given to me by my parents. I don’t really consider my nickname an alias for I’ve always gone by Gigi.
However, in the early 90′s I was into graffiti which, I wrote under various tag names and painted symbolic characters… but that is a whole other story!
When I moved to New York, I went through a four year art hibernation to focus on my fashion career. In 2007, I came back to art under the names “6161810″ and “8×10″ for privacy reasons because I wanted people to focus on my art, not me. Now, I am one with my art & life… simply Gigi Bio. [Pictured below: "LAYERS OF GROWTH" by Gigi Bio"]
I have an artist friend with a distinct style. It wasn’t until I went to the home he grew up in that I could see the influence his environment had on his style. Ms. Bio aren’t you originally from Florida? As an artist who uses New York City the way you do in your work do you see any of your Floridian influence and upbringing in your work despite NYC’s as a backdrop?
I believe you are a product of your environment & experiences.
I moved to New York from Florida, but I am not originally from Florida. I was born in Oakland, California. My father was in the military, so I spent much of my life on the move.
As a child, I was entertained by watching nature at a glance, colorful moving cars, concrete pavements, dotted painted lines and highway signs while traveling on highway I-95. I lived throughout the East Coast, growing up in Norfolk & Virginia Beach, VA to Key West & Jacksonville, FL.
In Florida, I was deep into painting. I mainly focused on techniques taught by my professors Anne Banas and Jim Draper at FCCJ [Florida Community College at Jacksonville] who taught me about color, shape, layering and deep expression. I learned what art was really about, it was a reflection of life. I learned how to dance in front of the canvas! [Pictured above: "Remembrance Of Alex" By Gigi Bio [Click to enlarge]]
After earning my AA degree in Fine Art & Fashion, I was part of the late Brooklyn Contemporary Art Center in Jacksonville, FL, where I shared a studio with Jonathan Lux, who was a figurative painter of chunky layers & expressive strokes of color. A couple years later, the BCAC building was demolished to make space for a new freeway.
I moved on to Savannah, GA to concentrate on art & pursue my BFA degree in Fashion at Savannah College of Art and Design. In 2004, I ventured to New York. Today, my artwork is greatly inspired by New York on the surface, but hidden between the layers is a narrative of my life. [Pictured right: Fashion Illustration 2 by Gigi Bio]
What’s next for Gigi Bio?
I will be flying out of New York….
I am preparing for a show with Josh Goldstein at Galerie Geraldine Zberro in Paris, France. Late next year, I will be planning my first solo show at Art Whino Gallery in Washington DC, where I plan on creating a new series and installations based on the Urban Reconstructionist Series.
The rest is yet to be discovered!