Gavin MacDougall Interview

Gavin MacDougall Interview
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mural1The mural is composed using images of approximately 35 of MacDougall’s acrylic on canvas paintings. Twenty paintings of most importance to the composition were scanned on a large flatbed scanner (90” x 60” Fine Art Scanner) and other, secondary paintings, were photographed.

By Tiara Jade

Q: As a Centennial Alumni how did it feel to do the mural for the school?

A: It was a real thrill to be short listed to the semi-finals of the competition. It’s really fantastic. It’s a dream come true to see my artwork in a public place that will hopefully be there a long time for people to see.

mural2Q: How did it feel when you found out you won?

A: I was shocked. My wife said I shouldn’t say shocked because I earned it. I was confident that I had a good submission and a good idea. I was proud of what I submitted. I was on cloud 9.

Q: What was the concept for the mural?

A: The concept had three main elements to the mural. There’s a background that has signs and symbols that represent various levels of communication, instruction, and shadows that I’ve used in past paintings. They indicate the past and heritage we emerge from. The wisdom and knowledge that can be handed down that we can learn from. The figures are very generic and join hands to indicate the community that we create to rise above an individual trouble. When we come together we’ll rise high and share ideas and grow. It raises everyone to a higher level.

Q: What was the process you went through?

A: The imagery is all taken from acrylic on canvas paintings I’ve done in the last few years. In some cases it was the whole painting, and in some, just a few elements. They were manipulated by Photoshop to make the final image.

Q: How did you come up with the name “Dare to Achieve?”

A: As I’m working on it I think about the various elements and what they represent. It embodies a leap and being prepared to fail. You have to make yourself vulnerable in what you create and what you do. You have to step outside your comfort zone and dare to take risks. Stepping outside the boundaries of everyday routine is how you better yourself.

Q: How would you describe your style as an artist?

A: It’s largely representative. It becomes abstract in some cases since there’s always an element of abstraction. You don’t immediately know what it is, which I hope makes people wonder about it and think.

Q: A particular or favourite medium?

mural3A: I paint largely in acrylic. I also do oil paint and I draw, but I mainly work in acrylic.

Q: Are there any particular themes you like to pursue in your work?

A: Yes, communication (and) ideas that are embodied in the symbols of my paintings. There’s a far deeper meaning and they’re communicating in a language all their own, and it requires certain knowledge to read the symbols. It’s a language that allows for change when you see those symbols. There will be change in infrastructure and society. And again shadows that represent the past, the people before us, parents, or ancestors affect us in our own lives. Any action we do, no matter how big or small, has some effect on the work around us, the people and society we live in.

Q: Is there something or someone who inspires you?

A: My wife would be a big inspiration. She’s been very supportive of my work and me pursuing my dream. My wife and family help me believe in myself and keep at it. There are times you get discouraged, but if you have a strong support system it helps. There have been a few professors at Story Arts that have been very supportive of me as well.

Q: How would you describe an artist’s role in society?

A: Dreaming, thinking outside the box, taking time to daydream and imagine things that weren’t there before and examine things that are there. We reflect that to society and ideas for change. We inspire, and depict some of the beauty and positive energy around us. An artwork can also point out failings and try to give directions on how to change.

Q: Future plans?

A: I’m still working on the mural. I’m doing the final files for the mural; its large-scale and higher resolution scans of the paintings. I’m continuing to work on my painting as well, have things in galleries, that sort of thing.

Q: Any advice for current and upcoming fine arts students?

A: Believe in yourself and hold on to your dream. It’s a very important part of life. Pursue your dream and work on it. It may not immediately translate to money, but hold on and work on your dream and your passion. You’ll achieve it if you just set a goal.




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