We had the good fortune of connecting with Bibby Gignilliat and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bibby, why did you pursue a creative career?
When I was age 10, I loved painting. Every Saturday, I walked a mile to take a class at the Art League in Oak Park, Il. The time would fly by as I was in the flow. My art was colorful and free. At age 12, I had a critical teacher and I stopped painting and my creativity went into hiding. To paraphrase Julia Cameron from her book The Artist’s Way, if you really want to know what you are supposed to do in life, look at what you loved as a child.
After 20 years running a successful cooking business, I sold it in 2017 to focus full-time on my art practice. I took an art class and was the worst one in the class but committed to getting better and got an art studio in the ICB Building in Sausalito, CA. I wanted to reclaim something that had been dormant my whole life. It has been a true homecoming. I teach and many of my students report this same kind of story – that they loved art as a child but lost sight of it for various reasons. I help my students ignite that creativity in themselves by coming out to play in a mixed media workshop either in person or on-line.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I ran a successful cooking party business for 20 year. While it was a creative business, overtime I was yearning to become an artist. I had to follow my heart so I started painting in 2014. At first, I was no good and felt like and imposter but I worked on it regularly and essentially gave myself a masters in art by studying with all the right people. Now I have a 1500 square-foot studio in the historic ICB building in Sausalito. I teach art 1-2 a month out of my studio and have an on-line class with over 700 students from around the world. So my advice would be as follows: 1. Don’t go to art school – instead, find people you want to study with and study what you want (for me it was mixed media) 2. Work regularly and take it seriously. It is better to be in a community of artists where you can learn from each other and share art opportunities. 3. Share your knowledge with others (it is a means for serving others but also builds your brand). 4. There is no such thing as a starving artist. You can make a very good living as an artist. You just have to treat your art practice like a business.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take them around the ICB Building. I work in an old ship-building, building and it is the home to 150 great artists. You could spend the whole day here looking at great art and meeting other artists. I would take a break for lunch on the water at the nearby restaurant called Fish here is Sausalito. You could stay at Stinson Beach and take a hike in Muir woods or go for a horseback ride on the beach!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Julia Cameron as outlined in my first question. I also like Brene Brown and love her quote as I do believe we are all creative. Many people think they aren’t but I disagree. Here is Brene’s quote: “There is no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There’s just people who use their creativity and people who don’t. And not using it does not go without penalty. As it turns out, unused creativity is not benign, it’s dangerous.” Brené Brown